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22.06.05
The Heat is on at Kensa

Richard Freeborn, managing director of Kensa Heat Pumps, with Business Link Devon and Cornwall personal business adviser Clare WhitneyRichard Freeborn, managing director of Kensa Heat Pumps, with Business Link Devon and Cornwall personal business adviser Clare Whitney

The temperature's rising at a Falmouth company which took on three new employees last year while increasing turnover by 20 per cent and profit margins five-fold with help from Business Link Devon and Cornwall.

Kensa Heat Pumps, of Tregoniggie Industrial Estate, near Falmouth, are the sole British manufacturer of a full range of ground source heat pumps. A series of narrow 2 metre deep trenches or drilled boreholes are used to absorb renewable heat energy for any size building.

Business is currently being boosted by a Business Link supported state of the art website, featuring expert software that allows customers to get an immediate on line quote for a heating system for their house.

Managing director Richard Freeborn said: "The website not only generated a huge upturn in interest but means that only genuine and serious enquiries are actually coming through. People know more about the systems, the optimal conditions and the approximate cost before they decide to put in a call. This unclogged our customer service system and allowed us to employ a graduate engineer to deal solely with these serious enquiries and help turn people's wishes into reality. Our customer service is much improved and while sales have increased the biggest benefit to our company is efficiency, which has allowed us to invest in staff dedicated to customer satisfaction, whereas before we were struggling to talk to all those who enquired and I am sure potential sales slipped through."

Business Link also supported the company to exhibit in Dublin which resulted in the first sales outside France and the UK. Kensa now also have a joint venture with a Northern Ireland distributor and recently won a contract to supply heat pumps to all the Royal National Lifeboat Institution lifeboats.

Help sourced by Business Link personal business adviser Clare Whitney included mentoring and the development of a marketing strategy focusing on raising the company's profile through PR and networking, including presentations at conferences. Mr Freeborn said: "Clare is one of the few people to have understood the difficulties of communicating how our technology can really help domestic and commercial clients and also address the needs to cut carbon emissions. Her help over the years has been key and we only hope we see more of her in the future as the company goes through a critical growth phase."

Manufacture of domestic heat pumps will be outsourced to the Far East to enable the company to concentrate on using its Cornish manufacturing facilities for very large heat pumps for use in schools and hospitals, where there is almost no competition. It will help Kensa to maintain a competitive advantage and concentrate on research and development, design, project management and ongoing activities in the political arena to encourage the government to pursue policies that will make renewable energy more competitive. Kensa's Cornish manufacturing capacity will continue to grow and the company is currently seeking larger premises to enable further expansion and job creation.

Links with engineering at sea led Mr Freeborn and technical director Guy Cashmore to the geothermal energy world. While developing sea water sourced heat pumps for yachts, they realised the market potential for a similar heat pump which could be adapted to convert heat sourced from the ground into a form that could be distributed into a home.

Seven years ago the company installed the first UK designed and built geothermal heat pumps and today it is the only UK manufacturer of a full range of ground sourced heat pumps. Kensa are the only manufacturing business based on renewable energy in the whole South West and as a major player in the renewable energy industry, also represents the UK on a European Heat Pump Association project, currently testing heat pumps with natural refrigerants.

Kensa's award winning heat pumps are used for heating buildings of all sizes, including houses, offices, factories, hotels and leisure complexes and suit almost any building which uses under floor heating and which has some room to bury the ground arrays. The heat pumps can reverse this process in summer, cooling buildings by removing excess heat and dispersing the excess heat back into the ground.

Looking to the future, the company employs nine in Cornwall with more than 50 employed in association with Kensa Heat Pumps across the rest of the UK. Kensa concentrate heavily on product development and research and development. "The Government Clear Skies grants of £1,200 that householders can claim against our systems has stimulated massive interest and is allowing us to expand and develop ever more efficient methods of building heat pumps to keep up with the demand," added Mr Freeborn.

Geothermal heat pumps are under constant development and refinement at Kensa, which claims that its products are not only the most environmentally friendly way to heat a building, but can also compare favourably with boilers on capital cost. Kensa's research may hold the key to installing similar systems in most of the UK's 23 million homes.

For further information please contact Lisa McGowan of the Marketing-PR Company on 01566 771860 or email: lmcgowan@marketing-pr.co.uk.

The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has invested in Business Link Devon and Cornwall through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Agriculture Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF).

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Editor's notes:

 

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Clare Morgan
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439

cmorgan@cornwall.gov.uk

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