Scheme Summary

St Pancras Housing installed a combined heat and power system into St Richards House and Hillwood house which enabled them to take over the supply of electricity to the 95 dwellings, the 10 commercial units and their own offices.

Scheme Details

St Richards House and Hillwood house provide a total of 95 one, two and three bedroom flats, and bedsits. The complex also includes St Pancras Housing's own head office, 10 commercial units and an elderly person's community centre. Existing boiler plant and distribution systems for the two buildings were totally separate and the boilers themselves were old and in need of replacing. St Pancras Housing took the opportunity to replace these with one combined heat and power (CHP) unit and new boilers, at the same time linking the two distribution systems together to form one integrated system. The table below provides further information on the CHP unit.

Technical details - CHP unit
Boilers 4 x 200 kW modular units
Electrical output: 54 kWe
Heat output: 97 kWe
Commissioned: August 1995
Supplier: Combined Power Systems Ltd

With the installation of the CHP system, St Pancras Housing took over responsibility for supplying electricity to both the commercial and domestic tenants, who had previously been billed individually by London Electricity. Tenants are now billed directly by St. Pancras Housing. This is made possible by the installation of modern electronic meters which are linked to a computer billing system in St Pancras Housing's offices. Any extra demand for electricity which the CHP unit cannot meet is provided by a single London Electricity supply to St Pancras Housing. The increased efficiency of the CHP unit means that the installation will produce 275 tonnes less CO2 per year which is a 20% reduction for the site. 650,000 kWh of primary energy will also be saved each year.

Cost Implications

The installation of the CHP Unit was part financed by a grant from the Residential CHP Programme. This Programme was managed by the Combined Heat and Power Association (CHPA) agency on behalf of the Energy Saving Trust. The Residential CHP Programme is however no longer running. The total cost of the project was £267,000 and a further breakdown of these costs is shown in the table below.

CHP plant £ 42,000
Electrical services, including new metering £ 100,000
Up-rated gas supply £ 10,000
Site preparation and civil work £ 24,000
New boilers and flue system £ 30,000
Linking of distribution systems £ 24,000
Adaptation of plant rooms, insulation etc £ 49,000
Total: £ 267,000

The payback period for the elements of the system which are directly related to the CHP unit is approximately 7 years. The entire refurbishment project payback period is predicted to be 9.5 years.

The sale of power to the tenants gives St Pancras Housing an additional income stream and also means that domestic and commercial tenants benefit from a reduction in their electricity costs. The tenants have chosen to take their savings by having no standing charges.

St Pancras Housing's Opinion
"As always with pioneering projects, there were hurdles to be overcome. We had to develop a billing system and institute procedures for collection of income.

We would certainly be keen to either repeat this type of operation or extend it given the right circumstances. We have learned valuable lessons regarding the bulk purchasing and selling of energy which will help us plan possible bulk buying from 1998."

- John Bird, Senior Building Surveyor.

Contact: John Bird, Senior Building Surveyor,
St Pancras Housing Association,
St Richard's House,
110 Eversholt Street,
London NW1 1BS.
Tel: 020 7209 9222
Fax: 020 7209 9223