A system which installs a network of ground source heat pumps to blocks of flats or terraced streets could help roll out clean heating across the UK, its backers have said.

Cornwall-based ground source heat pump manufacturer and installer, Kensa, is launching a new compact ground source heat pump, the “Shoebox NX, which it says can be a solution to tackling emissions from home heating.

The electric-powered heat pump is five times more efficient than a gas boiler and as easy to install, and small enough to fit in a cupboard, it said.

It is designed to be connected to a network of pipes, similar to the gas network, that draw ambient heat from holes drilled deep into the ground and use it to power the pumps to produce heating, as well as providing cooling in the summer.

Kensa said the networked ground source heat pump system was suitable for a wide range of properties, including homes such as flats where an air source heat pump is not a viable option, and could help take people who were reliant on direct electric heating, out of fuel poverty.

Tamsin Lishman, Kensa Heat Pumps chief executive, said: “Until now, achieving mass heat pump rollout has been a complex challenge, but with the launch of our Shoebox NX, we’ve engineered a small, high-performance heat pump that’s ready to replace gas as the main home heating choice.

“When combined with our networked ground source heat pumps solution, it unlocks cosy homes in the winter and cooler homes in the summer for almost anyone, and at low costs to the consumer.”

She said that pension funds and other investors were interested in putting money into the system, which would cover the upfront costs with consumers paying a standing charge similar to gas once the system was up and running.

But investors needed policy certainty, she said, and welcomed the direction from the Future Homes and Buildings Standard which comes in in 2025 and requires a shift to low-carbon heating.

She told the PA news agency: “It’s really interesting, there’s a clear message that heat is a really investable market.

“Like everything, what investors like is policy certainty. We are really encouraged that with all the political parties, heat’s on their radar.”

She also said the manufacture and installation of the pumps and drilling boreholes were scalable and could provide energy security by providing renewable heating from the ground instead of imported gas.

And she said the company was “optimistic” about a rebalance of policy costs such as green subsidies which currently fall on electricity, making it more expensive than gas.

In South Kensington, London, the company has drilled a series of 200-metre deep wells in the space between mid-rise social housing blocks that date back to the early 1900s, and is installing ground source heat pumps into 81 properties as part of a renovation programme by Clarion.

Once the ground works are complete, the network will be completely hidden, with heat pumps hooked up to hot water tanks in a cupboard in each property allowing families to manage their own heating.

Other projects where Kensa have installed networked ground source heat pumps include a scheme to hook up 98 private and social homes in Stithians, Cornwall, to a ground source heat array under the road.

In Thurrock, Essex, Kensa replaced direct electric heaters in 273 flats in tower blocks with the system, slashing bills and emissions, and in Ashton Rise, Bristol, 133 new homes were connected with networked ground source heat pumps.