Ground Source Heat Pumps
Mechanical Consultancy

Live-in employees of fruit farm benefit from low-cost heating and hot water thanks to Ground Source Heat Pump

near Faversham, Kent
Edward Vinson Ltd
  • 3x Thermia Mega XL - 88kW GSHP (total heating load - 254kW)
  • Horizontal collectors - 51 x 250m loops (total - 12.75 km)
  • District heating to 44x 2/3 bed caravans
  • 65m abstraction water well - provides drinking water to site
  • Cold water services - 20,000 litre break tank and 3x pump booster set

Live-in employees of an expanding fruit farm company in Faversham are benefitting from year-round, sustainable, low-cost heating and hot water thanks to a ground source heat pump installed by renewable heating experts, Solaris Energy.

When Edward Vinson Ltd embarked on building an ambitious new accommodation site for its seasonal workers, complete with 44 new static caravans each with heating, water, shower and toilet facilities; the Kent based company needed a future-proof, reliable heating system that could cope with the demands of approximately 250 people at any one time, while delivering energy efficiency, low emissions and avoiding reliance on fossil fuels.

The origins of Edward Vinson Ltd trace back to the second half of the 19th century when two brothers, Edwin and William Vinson were tenant farmers growing vegetables and strawberries. Over the next 150 years the family business grew, adapted and flourished through economic and political upheaval, not to mention two World Wars, remaining a traditional, family company specialising in soft fruit breeding, propagation and production.

From the late 1800’s into the current business environment, Edward Vinson Ltd has relied on seasonal harvest workers; in previous eras these workers would walk, ride, or be bussed in from outlying areas, but in a forward thinking and resourceful move the company now provide accommodation in the form of caravans so employees can reside on site, keeping the tradition of community very much a part of the South East company’s long standing ethos.

Camilla Longley, Health and Safety Manager at Edward Vinson project managed the development of the new employee accommodation. Commenting on the goals of the project, she said: 

“Our priorities were to find a practical solution for keeping our staff warm over winter, but in particular we wanted an ecologically and financially friendly solution, with our MD really pushing for a sustainable, green scheme.

“After making some enquiries, Solaris Energy came highly recommended and after meeting with Dan, we quickly established that they were a company we could trust.”

As the caravans require heating all year round, consultation with Solaris Energy identified a Ground Source Heat Pump (GSHP) as the most sustainable and economical solution for the site.

With proven efficiency, a heat pump is not only a reliable and practical solution but also by using a renewable energy source, Edward Vinson Ltd would benefit from significant savings on running costs versus traditional heating processes.

As part of the consultation process, Solaris Energy also provided advice about how to create additional and ongoing income from their new GSHP system via the Non-Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) – a Government financial incentive which rewards businesses for opting for renewable energy.

Under the RHI, Edward Vinson Ltd receives quarterly financial returns annually for a period of 20 years. In this instance, the business will recoup their investment within 6 years and Solaris Energy estimates that they will receive a tax-free profit of £772,675.14 over the next 20 years.

Solaris Energy were commissioned to install a GHSP system by Edward Vinson Ltd, with the renewable heating experts designing, fabricating and installing a bespoke system, including an abstraction borehole to provide the site with its own water supply, water distribution system, a district heating network and fitting fan convectors in the caravans.

Camilla is very happy with the result:

“The work itself went very smoothly, it was delivered on time and within budget and both ourselves and our staff are very happy with the results; we actually surveyed the staff recently and we had great feedback about the heating systems, particularly about the control they have over the temperature in the caravans, as the system is quick to react providing an increase in heat when it’s needed and providing cooling air in the hot summer months.”

She added: 

“I would thoroughly recommend Dan and his team to anyone thinking of installing a commercial heat pump system. He is a fantastic project manager who kept us up to date at every stage of the installation and who kept to his word regarding time delivery and cost. We are very happy with his work.”

Edward Vinson Ltd is a great working example of how effective environment choices can combine with good business choices.

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