Kensa Unveils New Highly Efficient Heat Pump

Heat pump manufacturer Kensa has unveiled the Shoebox NX, a new, ground source heat pump model that it says is five times more efficient than a gas boiler.

According to Kensa, the Shoebox has an efficiency rating of 436%, making it more efficient than the average heat pump, which typically has an efficiency rating of 300%.

The Shoebox NX can heat water up to 64°C, placing it almost on par with a standard gas boiler – regular heat pumps typically only heat water to 45°C to 55°C. The Shoebox can provide passive cooling in the summer months.

Being able to heat water at similar temperatures to a boiler is a big advantage, because it means homeowners who install the Shoebox are less likely to have to replace their radiators with larger ones to achieve comfortable levels of warmth.

The Shoebox is designed to be installed as part of a ‘networked heat pump’ system. Kensa specialises in designing these systems, which are similar to a gas network. Several households in an area are connected to a shared ground loop system, but each have their own indoor heat pump units.

In a networked heat pump system, an external investor, such as a utility company or local authority, pays for and owns the heat network infrastructure. Since this is typically the most expensive component of a ground source heat pump, the cost of installing a heat pump for homeowners is significantly lowered, since they’ll only be paying for an indoor unit and for staying connected to the network.

Front view of Kensa Shoebox ground source heat pump indoor unit

Pricing for the Shoebox NX starts at £6,495 for a 5 kilowatt model, well under the £17,000 it typically costs to install a single-home ground source heat pump of the same size.

According to Oliver Kirby, PR Manager at Kensa, “[the Shoebox] was designed and is suitable for most properties, from apartments, to tenements, to 2 – 5 bed homes, including Victorian terrace streets and new-builds – because of its high performance, high efficiency and compact size; it will fit and work for the majority of UK homes.”

Installing heat pumps in flats or terraced houses can sometimes be a challenge, as they don’t always have the outdoor space required to house either the outdoor unit of an air source heat pump, or the ground loops or boreholes of a single-home ground source heat pump.

Around 45% of households in England and Wales are flats or terraced houses, according to the Office for National Statistics, and network heat pump systems, such as the kind Kensa designs, could make installing heat pumps in these properties much easier.

These types of innovations are vital if the government is going to achieve its goal of having 80% of households heated by gas boiler alternatives by 2035.

The one downside to network heat pump systems is that starting a project can be tricky. It usually requires external funding, as well as collaboration with the local authority and residents of the area they’re being installed in.

Kensa has had success installing heating networks in social housing high-rise flats in Thurrock, Essex, new-builds in Bristol (in collaboration with Bristol City Council), and existing properties in Cornwall, thanks to a grant from the European Regional Development Fund.

Written by:
Tatiana has written about multiple environmental topics, including heat pumps, energy-efficient household products, and solar panels. She is dedicated to demystifying green tech to make eco-friendly living more accessible.
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