7th March 2023

Communal Energy-Efficient Heating Replacement Project, Royal Borough of Kingston

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New energy-efficient heating system brings thermal and cost efficiencies for residents of Royal Borough of Kingston

Axis’ Mechanical and Electrical (M&E) Design Team – working in partnership with consulting engineers Butler and Young Associates – have designed a new energy-efficient heating system on behalf of our long-term client The Royal Borough of Kingston Upon Thames (RBK).

The new Mitsubishi energy-efficient heating system uses Air Source Heat Pumps (instead of existing gas boilers) to produce space heating in the communal areas, rooms/accommodation, bathrooms and kitchens – and hot water –  for the entire property: Four Oaks Hostel in Chessington.

It will replace the existing heating system where each unit has its own gas-fired condensing combination boilers providing heating and hot water.

Scope of Works

Works, which commenced in February 2023, will take 26 weeks to complete and comprise:

Removal of:

Existing gas fire boilers and gas supply/meters

Installation of:

  • Two new Mitsubishi Air Source Heat Pumps (external to the buildings)
  • Water Source Heat Pump (WSHP) units, buffer vessel, pumps, and a control panel in the current boiler room
  • Solar-Thermal/ Thermal storage
  • Low Surface Temperature (LST)  radiators – flow controlled thermostatic sensors
  • Metered Heat Interface Units  (HIUs) in allocated areas
  • New Heating Distribution pipework system
  • New electrical power supply to serve the new installation
  • New integrated Building Management System (BMS) controls with cloud-based connectivity for remote monitoring
  • All associated building works

The internal distribution system will be a wet system and whilst sizes of emitters increase, they still resemble traditional radiators.

We also installed new front and back entrance doors and replaced the old wooden windows with UPVC  windows after an air tightness test identified the old windows were expelling heat from the property .

Benefits to residents

  • As well as being more energy efficient (the building is heated effectively with reduced output), the new system is demand-led with multi-stage power control for better regulation/consumption and CO2 reduction.
  • Residents can easily operate the new system from a wall-mounted controller.
  • Solar panels will further increase the thermal efficiency of the building reducing bills.

More about Four Oaks

Four Oaks Hostel comprises three occupied buildings: a two-storey building (1950s-built) with 18 bedrooms, communal kitchens, communal bathroom / shower rooms, a lounge area, and a laundry room; two new (c2012) blocks containing two 3-bedroom and four 2-bedroom self-contained units. It is located in a residential area in a cul de sac.

There is also a scheme manager’s flat and office at the hostel.

Care of Four Oaks Residents during the Works

Residents of Four Oaks include families in a range of situations and living circumstances including those who are homeless.

Through meetings and consultations as well as regular written communications and clear site signage (internal and external), residents of the hostel will be kept fully informed of the works to be carried out. A dedicated Resident Liaison Officer will be additionally at hand to answer queries

During the works, a temporary central boiler house ensures that residents are never without hot water or heat and all effort is being made to keep disruption to a minimum.


RBK has set out a carbon-reduction road map for the next 3-4 years and is keen to move away from their reliance on fossil fuel-based heating systems towards a greener, more energy efficient means of energy generation utilising air source or ground heat pumps, solar-thermal and the possibility of photo-voltaic arrays.

This project for Royal Borough of Kingston is delivered in partnership between Axis, Butler and Young Associates specialist independent mechanical and electrical consulting engineers, and TDK Mechanical Services

Axis is Principal Contractor on this Project: The Contract Manager is Michael Martino. The works are being conducted by Axis’ Mechanical and Electrical (M&E) Division headed up by M&E Director Alan Noble.

There is more about our M&E Services here

Axis conducts Responsive Repairs, Out of Hours Repairs, Void Refurbishments, and Planned Works for The Royal Borough of Kingston’s housing stock

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