Four Wakefield and Huddersfield-based businesses have supported Leeds & Yorkshire Housing Association (LYHA) in becoming the first housing association in the UK to invest in a revolutionary new heating technology which not only provides cost savings for its customers, but promises health benefits too.
The Housing Association, which owns and manages 1,300 homes in Leeds, Barnsley and Whitby, has invested almost £750,000 in installing the Logicor Clear Heater System to provide both heating and hot water in 138 properties on its Elmetes estate in Roundhay, Leeds. This is part of its commitment to ensuring that living in an LYHA home is as affordable as possible for customers.
The Logicor Clear Heater System is a patented British invention by David Bowen of Wakefield-based Research and Development company, Logicor. The system uses infra-red rays to heat objects in a room as opposed to standard convection heating which circulates warm air.
Infra-red gives a more even distribution of heat meaning temperatures can be set to 2 degrees Celsius less than with convection heating to achieve the same effect, minimising energy bills but maintaining comfort levels. LYHA is also installing Logicor’s InLine Hot Water System which can heat water to a pre-set temperature almost instantaneously and offer additional cost efficiencies for customers.
Both systems are managed by an intelligent control panel which can control individual room temperature settings to 0.1 degrees Celsius accuracy. Customers can monitor energy usage, running costs and temperature settings via the control panel and can even input a set budget over a period of time for the Clear Heater to run.
The system intelligently works out the most efficient way to utilise up to the allocated spend on the heating, putting the customer in complete control.
Working with distributor Huddersfield-based Infra-Red, trials were carried out in three flats on the Elmetes estate for nine months. The electricity supply was upgraded by Wakefield-based Freedom and the installation of Logicor Clear Heat by Aqua Interiors of Clayton West began in March 2015 for customers in the 84 two-bed flats and 54 bedsits.
Alongside this innovative technology, LYHA is working with each customer to support them to switch onto the cheapest tariff to make the Clear Heater System as cost effective as possible. Customers who were previously paying anywhere between 16p and 26p per kilowatt hour are now paying an average of 10.5p, a 60% saving on the kilowatt hour rate. LYHA has also set up a show home with the system installed and is using it to educate and support customers to manage the Clear Heater System to get the best results.
Previously, the flats and bedsits at the Elmetes used electric storage heaters which were outdated and expensive to run. LYHA was inspired from its leading work on Real Life Reform to source alternative solutions that would tackle increasing fuel poverty amongst social housing tenants. Knowing that almost 1 in 3 customers were not using their heating effectively if at all; it also recognised the impact this was having on the health of residents as well as the condition of the property.
Whilst installing like-for-like new storage heaters would have been around £300,000 cheaper, LYHA took the bold decision to invest in the Clear Heater System to improve affordability and quality of lives for its customers.
Lisa Pickard, chief executive of LYHA said: “Through our work both on Real Life Reform and local engagement, we know that many of our customers are experiencing fuel poverty and this played a huge part in our decision to install the Logicor Clear Heater System.
“By installing this revolutionary technology we are both investing in our buildings and improving the financial situation for many customers, which in turn helps them better afford their rent. We are also improving the health and well-being of our customers.
“To know that they are in control of their heating and, in most cases, on the lowest tariff possible means they can face this winter with a lot less worry and more money in their pockets, and that is hugely important to us. This is a long-term investment for us but one which we know will make a huge difference to our customers’ lives.”
Clive Brook at Infra-Red said: “Following the successful trial of the Logicor Clear Heater System last winter, LYHA took the decision to install it into 138 properties on its Elmetes estate. This was a brave decision as this is a relatively new system and there were other, cheaper, options but LYHA knew its customers would ultimately be the beneficiaries of cleaner and cheaper heating.
“LYHA has acted as a trailblazer by making such a large investment relative to is size and we are already seeing larger social landlords following in its footsteps which is fantastic news.”