Kensa Ground Source Heat Pumps
A ground source heat pump extracts renewable solar heat energy stored in ground or water sources to provide 100% of the heating and hot water requirements for a domestic or commercial property. The year round temperature underground is around 8°C - 12°C and this is fairly constant, so provides an excellent source of energy that can be used to consistently heat a building all year round. For every unit of electricity used to power the heat pump, three or four units of heat are produced, making ground source heat pumps incredibly energy efficient. As these additional two to three units of heat are produced by the heat pump using free energy from a ground or water source, heating costs can be reduced by up to a quarter. On top of this, the high efficiency also helps to lower carbon emissions and when compared to traditional fossil fuelled systems such as gas the CO₂ emissions are up to 43% less.
As well as saving money on utility bills, the Renewable Heat Incentive (available for both domestic and non-domestic applications) offers a guaranteed quarterly income for renewable energy produced by the ground source heat pump. Paid to the system owner, in domestic applications the RHI income is paid for 7 years and in commercial applications it is paid for a period of 20 years. The RHI is designed to encourage more people to convert to renewable heat technologies, and owners should expect to more than recover the costs for the system through the RHI payments. Adding the RHI income to the money saved through the energy efficiency of the system, ground source heat pumps offer a lucrative and environmentally-friendly means to deliver heat and hot water.
A ground source heat pump extracts heat energy from sources via a series of underground pipes, which circulate a mixture of water and antifreeze to absorb heat from surrounding areas. The temperature of the fluid at this stage is reasonably low and will need to be raised before it can be used. This is done by the ground source heat pump and the process is outlined in the video below.
The underground pipe system for a ground source heat pump, known as an ‘array’ can be installed in a number of ways. The most common is by a series of loops or coils called slinkies, laid out flat in trenches that are then filled and turfed over. This is a closed loop system, so the pipework connected to the heat pump forms a continuous closed circuit. The area needed for the slinkies will typically need to be twice as large as the total footprint of the property. If this is not possible due to limited space, the pipework can be installed vertically with boreholes, down to a depth from 80m to 150m. Water sources are also excellent sources of heat for ground source heat pumps. Lakes, rivers, ponds, streams, aquifers and even the sea can be used by securing an array to a platform before submerging it. In all scenarios, the array is either underground or underwater, so will not be visible.
Ground source heat pumps can be installed discreetly in your home, or in outbuildings or shelters. As the installation is customised to suit the needs of the property, ground source heat pumps are suitable for use in a number of domestic or commercial settings, including more obscure applications in swimming pools and houseboats. They can also be used in reverse to cool. Ground source heat pumps are hardwearing and are not susceptible to weather damage, so can be expected to last for around 25 years, with an array designed to last for 100.