Deliver net-zero carbon emissions for heating and hot water for the village of Swaffham Prior, which is currently dependent on oil for its for its heating fuel.
The main objective is developing of a blueprint for whole village retrofits for communities dependent on oil for heating and hotwater. The main problem was the village was not connected to gas and was reliant on oil for heating and hotwater. The carbon emissions and cost of oil heating were the problems to be addressed.
Swaffham Prior is a typical village with homes from 17th century up to modern day. Installing new technogies into homes at scale requires a listed buildings consent order to cover the whole village. Groundwater survey was undertaken to establish quality of heat of and as a result the project changes from an open loop groundsource heat pump to a closed loop plus air source heat pump to use heat from the ground rather than ground water and air as energy supplies. The land for the groundsource heat pump (130 boreholes will be required) will be subsequently managed for biodiversity net gain. In technical temrs, the energy centre will comprise commercial ground source heat pumps, a commercial air source heat pump, thermal storage, heat network throughout the village and heat interface units supplied to homes for accessing the heat. The project is designed to deliver heat at net zero carbon emission to the village and cost less than the oil equivalent. Access to the project is availlable to all homes in the community and is not dependent on income.
Main beneficiaries:
- Swaffham Prior homes and businesses
- Cambridgeshire County Council
- Other communities

Resources needed

Several funding sources, among others: WRAP funding, Business Energy and industrial Strategy (BEIS) Heat Network Delivery Unit(HNDU) funding, Heat Network Investment Project (HNIP) funding, Cambridgeshire County Council match funding for HNDU grants, Public Loans.

Evidence of success

Modelled results:
• 47,000 tonnes of carbon emissions reduced over 40 years ( 1.250 per year)
• Air quality improvements ( can provide details)
• Cost of heat 5.18pKwh ( May 2020) plus standing charge for system use which is better than oil costs
Environmental management of the land post installation of the groundsource heat pump. Resource efficiency as system designed for existing home heating systems and therefore replacement of radiators/pipework not required for most homes.

Difficulties encountered

Establishing baseline energy usage and demand is difficult when using oil tanks as homeowners can only provide estimates of bills. Therefore baselines need to be agreed for sizing the scheme. Significant resources needed to apply for grants. Exepertise across a wide range of disciplines is required.

Potential for learning or transfer

The innovative aspects of the practice have been transferred to other community groups and projects through workshops and replicable materials. The target audience includes: End-users of the project, experts or practitioners in the field, local communities and landowners and managers. The transferred innovative aspects include:

• New business model including selling carbon offsets to local businesses to fund the infrastructure
• Community partnership model
• Linking ground source heatpumps with air source heat pumps and solar PV as a solution has not yet been completed
• A solution that works with existing heating systems in homes
Main institution
Cambridgeshire County Council and Swaffham Prior Community Land Trust
East Anglia, United Kingdom
Start Date
May 2017
End Date


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