Biomass communal heating serves housing development at York
Helping homes in a new development by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation on the edge of York achieve Levels 4 and 5 of the Code for Sustainable Homes is a biomass-powered community-heating system designed and installed by Econergy, a subsidiary of British Gas, which will also provide fuel for the first year. The communal system in the Derwenthorpe energy centre uses wood chips to provide heating and hot water. There are also a thermal-storage vessel and standby gas boilers.
Individual properties are connected to the energy centre via an insulated heat-mains system.
In the first phase of the project, 64 houses are served by a Turbomat 320 kW wood-chip boiler and one Buderus 620 kW gas-fired boiler.
The completed development of 540 homes will see the installation of another wood-chip boiler and three more Buderus boilers. The 36 000 l buffer vessel will maximise use of the wood-chip plant and income from the Renewable Heat Incentive.
It is estimated that energy costs for each home will be about £500 a year less than the average home in the UK, with carbon footprint reduced by around 80%.
Heat-interface units in each property include heat meters to facilitate billing. Meter readings are collected automatically via a site-wide wireless network to provide automatic billing from a remote bureau.
The generously sized energy centre also incorporates community meeting rooms. The energy centre also includes multiple heat meters to record heat production by wood and gas boilers and heat exported as required for accreditation under the Renewable Heat Incentive, which the scheme qualifies for.