Yorkshire Housing partners with Wakefield infrared heating firm for £200,000 pilot project

Yorkshire Housing is set to invest £200,000 in a pilot project to trial an innovative new energy efficient low carbon heating system in some of its York homes.

Infrared heat panels, which are manufactured by Wakefield-based Ambion Heating, are being installed in 30 flats, replacing the existing electric panel heaters. The infrared panels, while also electric-powered, have a very low wattage, so are cost less to run.

Unlike conventional heating systems that heat the air in a room which can then escape from doors and windows, the infrared panels use infrared technology to warm the fabric of a building, as well as the objects in a room.

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The heat they absorb is gradually and steadily released, maintaining a steady temperature and keeping rooms warmer for longer.

​Ambion Heating’s team at the firm’s Wakefield facility with CEO Oliver Baker (front, second from right). ​​Ambion Heating’s team at the firm’s Wakefield facility with CEO Oliver Baker (front, second from right). ​
​Ambion Heating’s team at the firm’s Wakefield facility with CEO Oliver Baker (front, second from right). ​

Bob Spedding, Head of Asset Strategy at Yorkshire Housing said: “Our 16,500 homes across Yorkshire produce around 50,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year and we plan to get that number to zero by 2050. To help us do that we’re investing £30 million over the next five years in an extensive programme of energy efficiency and heating system upgrades.

“We own and manage lots of different types of properties, and when it comes to finding the right heating solutions there’s no ‘one size fits all’.

"That’s why we’re very open-minded and keen to explore all sorts of new and emerging technologies that will reduce the carbon footprint of our properties and make them warmer, healthier and more affordable for our customers.”

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Ambion notes that infrared systems can act as a solution to decarbonising homes which are unsuitable for heat pump systems, such as high rise or multiple occupancy buildings.

Infrared heating systems require no central boiler system, relying instead on the electric-powered panels which are fitted to interior walls.

Sensors to measure levels of humidity and temperature in the flats are also being installed into the properties.

The association noted that by doing so, it hopes to keep homes “healthy”, mitigating risk of damp or mould and tackling potential problems before they appear.

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The data will also help Yorkshire Housing understand how customers are adapting to the technology, and if they need additional advice and support on how to get the best out of their new heating system.

Oliver Baker, chief executive at Ambion Heating said: “We’re delighted to be working with the Yorkshire Housing team on this project and share their vision of delivering net zero with homes which are warmer, healthier and more affordable.

“Yorkshire Housing is to be applauded for pushing ahead with new technologies, and we’re thrilled to be working with them to improve the environment and the lives of people living in their homes.”

The pilot project is already underway, with installation due for completion early next year.

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Yorkshire Housing said the efficiency of the infrared panels, thermal comfort and affordability for customers will be fully assessed before the group decides if they will be rolled out across its additional properties.

​Ambion’s infrared system is also part of a high-profile test at the University of Salford, in which houses have been constructed inside a large building to fully test the efficiency of different low carbon heating systems.

The test will see Ambion’s systems tested against a competitor infrared heating system as well as more conventional heat pump systems, with results released later this year.