Local Housing Association, Alpha Housing has partnered with Phoenix Energy and one-stop-shop Refresh NI to install energy efficient hybrid heat pumps at one of its schemes in Newtownabbey.


This is the first such installation by a housing association in Northern Ireland and will allow tenants to effectively heat their homes while reducing their energy bills as well as gas use and associated carbon emissions.


The hybrid heat pump systems have already been installed in two households in Carnvue Court, Alpha Housing’s bungalow scheme on Carnmoney Hill in Newtownabbey, as part of a fully monitored trial evaluating the potential of hybrid heating systems within the social housing sector.

Photo: Alpha E Tec Hybrid Heat Pump installed at Carnvue Court in Newtownabbey.

Speaking about the pilot scheme, Chief Executive of Alpha Housing Cameron Watt commented:

“Due to cost-of-living crisis and colder weather, our older tenants were struggling to heat their homes affordably. We recently improved the insulation in 25 of the bungalows here and we hope this pilot scheme will see a reduction in energy costs and improved home heating for our tenants. We thank Phoenix Energy and Refresh NI for partnering with us in this exciting pilot and look forward to closely tracking the performance of these new systems. Assuming it’s a success, Alpha Housing hopes to help pioneer the roll out of Hybrid Heat Pumps across Northern Ireland in the years ahead.”


Alpha Housing has committed to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030 and are rolling out renewable energy initiatives in their schemes across Northern Ireland, including their sheltered housing scheme – The Whins in Crumlin, which will see the installation of solar PV panels for heating communal areas, with the aim of lowering the carbon footprint of all their housing stock. 

Photo: Iain Hoy, Energy Transition Manager at Phoenix Energy & Josh Rowe, Technical Director at Refresh NI. 

Energy Transition Manager at Phoenix Energy Iain Hoy said:

“In 2022, the five NI Gas Network Operators, including Phoenix, launched a joint plan to fully decarbonise our region’s gas network by 2050. Hybrid Heat Pumps have the potential to valuably contribute to NI’s carbon reductions, a decarbonised gas network can reliably meet peak heat demand, valuably supplemented by renewable technologies, including wind generation, solar PV and hybrid heating systems.”


Hybrid heat pumps combine a small air source heat pump with a gas boiler for back-up heat generation, combining the two technologies has the benefits of lowering energy bills, improving energy efficiency, and lowering greenhouse gas emissions by up to 30%.[1] Furthermore, hybrid heating systems are cheaper to install than full air source heat pumps with the need for less remedial work, as they use existing pipework, don’t require any immediate upgrading of insulation, nor do they need a hot water storage tank.


Josh Rowe, Technical Director at Refresh NI:

“We’re excited to be working with Alpha Housing and Phoenix Energy in installing these new hybrid heating systems. Hybrid heat pumps are a future-proofed and reliable alternative to traditional heating systems. Combining gas and electricity, they offer a home heating solution that provides energy security, lower energy bills, and a warmer, more comfortable home.”

Learn more about this hybrid heating trial by watching the short film below or visit https://refreshni.com/services/hybrid-heat-pumps/


[1] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0378778821001493