The new heating system at the Kingston Heights development has been switched on by the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey.
Mr Davey said: “This project will not only transform the waterfront area in Kingston, but also means residents’ bills will be lower than if they used gas.
“The Thames is a great natural asset to Kingston and London as a whole. By capturing the heat stored in the river to provide heat and hot water to the whole development the project shows the enormous potential of renewable energy.”
The community heating technology behind the eco-friendly Kingston Heights housing development is based on an open water source heat pump system that is tried and tested and readily available.
The community heating scheme takes renewable heat from the sun, stored in the river water and boosts it to the temperature required for the underfloor heating and hot water needed by residents
At two metres below the surface the water never falls below 7°C, even in winter.
The system can draw up to 13 million litres of water each day. The river water passes through a state-of-the-art, two-stage filtration process that ensures no marine life can enter the system.
Inside a specially-built plant room adjacent to the river, the water passes through high-efficiency heat exchangers and, once the low grade heat has been harvested, the water is immediately fed back into the river, untreated in any way.
The heat exchangers transfer this low grade heat from the river water to an internal ‘closed’ loop water system and this is then carried 200 metres to a plant room in the apartment building, where Mitsubishi Electric’s advanced heat pump technology boosts the low grade heat to the temperature required for the apartments’ heating and hot water.
NHP Leisure Developments managing director Mike Spenser-Morris explained: ““This open water heat pump system will be capable of producing over two megawatts of thermal energy for this development and will provide it 24/7, 365 days a year regardless of the weather or air temperature, even in the depths of winter.
“Almost every major city in this country is close to a river, lake, reservoir, canal or the sea.
“Every litre of water naturally stores, with the greatest efficiency, the valuable energy the sun delivers to earth each day.
“There will be thousands of homes and businesses that can benefit from this most energy-efficient technology and in the process prevent thousands, even millions of tons of harmful carbon being released into the atmosphere from now on”.
After 14 years of planning, the £70 million mixed-use development was created by the NHP Leisure Developments, 200 metres from the River Thames.
The development includes 56 homes, plus 81 luxury private apartments. The 137 apartments use a heat pump system that gathers energy from the River Thames.