Dedicated Ground Source Heat Pump Learning Facility Kensa Heat Pumps

Who it is aimed at and who will it benefit?

Kensa Heat Pumps is the UK’s leading manufacturer of ground source heat pumps, and for almost a decade, has been pioneering the adoption of this renewable heating technology across the country. Kensa prides itself on the service and support it provides to installer partners, and therefore is committed to delivering the highest quality and up-to-date industry training possible.

This extends to accredited and non-accredited heating and plumbing engineers who are new to ground source heat pumps, or existing installers of renewable heating systems simply looking for a refresher course.

In line with the objective to inspire the widespread adoption of ground source heat pumps, Kensa is passionate about educating installers about the significant benefits of the technology and opening up new business opportunities for them.

The research behind the initiative and methods of implementation?

Kensa is based out of offices in Cornwall & Devon, where the underlying geology is particularly thermally conducive for extracting heat energy via ground source heat pumps. Over the past few years, successful training events have been held here, and staff have travelled around the country delivering group and one-to-one sessions.

Whilst this allowed Kensa to cover a wide geographical range, ultimately the amount of kit that could be taken on the road was limited. Kensa’s research has shown that as well as classroom-based theory, the most valuable training allows engineers to actually get hands on and interact with products to understand how they work.

Therefore, in spring of 2018, Kensa formed a ground breaking partnership with Exeter College, a leading centre of excellence for training in the heating and plumbing industry. Inside a number of specially refurbished training bays within the construction centre, Kensa created a unique ‘hands on’ resource featuring working examples of ground source heat pump systems.

The facility showcases a number of products from Kensa’s award-winning ground source heat pump range, including the latest innovation, the award-winning Evo Series. Installers are able to analyse the working systems, which are fully piped up to buffer tanks, cylinders and ground arrays, as well as an example of a bivalent heat pump set up featuring a traditional boiler. The area can also be turned into a fully functioning classroom with projector, television equipment and Wi-Fi.

In March 2018, Kensa launched a new programme of free monthly training days, which offered installers the chance to learn more about the specification, application, design and installation of a Kensa ground source heat pump system. Installers were encouraged to bring details of any live or potential projects with them, to be analysed as working examples of Kensa’s project specification process.

With a background in teaching and a former heating and plumbing engineer, Darren Veal, Commissioning Engineer, is Kensa Heat Pumps’ main trainer.

He says: “We know how essential it is that installer training involves a practical element, so Kensa was excited to launch our 2018 training days in this brand new facility, specially created in partnership with Exeter College. We have been able to showcase fully working ground source heat pump systems as part of our training programme for the first time.

“As well as the hands on learning, the 2018 course material included many new elements, such as innovative ground source heat pump system architecture, designed to show installers new scenarios in which they can specify ground source heat pump technology, therefore widening their business opportunities. The sessions have been well attended and we’ve been delighted with the overall response.”

The effectiveness of the initiative?

Since March 2018, over 30 installers have attended Kensa’s publicised group training sessions, with more having arranged one-to-ones and company training days in the new facility. The training has proved so popular that two additional dates were added to the spring/summer programme to satisfy demand, and installers travelled from Oxford, North Yorkshire and Kent to attend.

The feedback from attendees has been very positive. Jim Dowling, Managing Director of Oxford Renewables, said: “Our team attended a ground source heat pump training session with Kensa in March and it was very helpful. As market leaders, they really know what they are talking about and their technical knowledge is first class.

“Our background is in installing biomass boilers for domestic and commercial customers, so we see ground source heat pumps as a great compliment to our portfolio of renewable technology offerings. We are working with Kensa to help us promote and sell the technology.”

Dates for a programme of 2019 training sessions will be released in the New Year, however installers are encouraged to contact Kensa directly to fulfil any training requirements in the meantime. There are plans for a second phase of development at the Exeter College facility, which will feature new training bays, housing more of Kensa’s ground source heat pumps. Kensa is also in discussion with other learning establishments across the country with the intention of setting up similar facilities in other locations.