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Alpha Housing Installs Hybrid Heat Pumps In Newtownabbey Homes

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Alpha Housing, a local housing association, has collaborated with Phoenix Energy and Refresh NI to install energy-efficient hybrid heat pumps at one of its Newtownabbey locations.

This is the first such installation by a housing association in Northern Ireland and will allow tenants to effectively heat their homes while reducing their energy bills as well as gas use and associated carbon emissions.

Recently, hybrid heat pump systems were installed in two homes within Carnvue Court, a bungalow scheme situated on Carnmoney Hill in Newtownabbey, overseen by Alpha Housing. This deployment marks the beginning of a meticulously monitored trial, assessing the viability of hybrid heating systems in the realm of social housing.

Speaking about the pilot scheme, Chief Executive of Alpha Housing Cameron Watt commented: "Due to cost-of-living crisis and colder weather, our older tenants were struggling to heat their homes affordably. We recently improved the insulation in 25 of the bungalows here and we hope this pilot scheme will see a further reduction in energy costs and improved home heating for our tenants.

"We thank Phoenix Energy and Refresh NI for partnering with us in this exciting pilot and look forward to closely tracking the performance of these new systems. Assuming it’s a success, Alpha Housing hopes to help pioneer the roll out of hybrid heat pumps across Northern Ireland in the years ahead."

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Alpha Housing has pledged to decrease its greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent by 2030. They are actively implementing renewable energy projects across Northern Ireland, including their sheltered housing scheme, The Whins in Crumlin. Recently, solar PV panels were installed to heat communal areas, with the aim of reducing the carbon footprint of their entire housing portfolio.

Energy Transition Manager at Phoenix Energy Iain Hoy said: "In 2022, the five NI Gas Network Operators, including Phoenix, launched a joint plan to fully decarbonise our region’s gas network by 2050. Hybrid heating has the potential to valuably contribute to NI’s carbon reductions through a decarbonised gas network which can reliably meet peak heat demand, valuably supplemented by renewable technologies, including wind generation, solar PV and hybrid heating systems."

Hybrid heat pumps combine a small air source heat pump with a gas boiler for back-up heat generation. Combining the two technologies has the benefits of lowering energy bills, improving energy efficiency, and lowering greenhouse gas emissions by up to 30%.[1] Increasing the percentage of renewable gas and electricity in the network will help accelerate these emission savings further.

Furthermore, hybrid heating systems offer cost-effective installation compared to full air source heat pumps, requiring less invasive installation procedures by using existing pipework. They eliminate the immediate need for insulation upgrades and the installation of a hot water storage tank.

Josh Rowe, Technical Director at Refresh NI stated: "We’re excited to be working with Alpha Housing and Phoenix Energy in installing these new hybrid heating systems. Hybrid heat pumps are a future-proofed and reliable alternative to traditional heating systems. Combining gas and electricity, they offer a home heating solution that provides energy security, lower energy bills, and a warmer, more comfortable home."

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