Ground Source Heat Pumps
Ground source heat pumps make use of energy from the sun that is stored in the ground. They are actually one of the most energy-efficient ways of heating buildings.
They are suitable for a wide variety of building types and are particularly appropriate for low environmental impact projects.
They do not require hot rocks (geothermal energy) and can be installed in most of the UK, using a borehole or shallow trenches or, less commonly, by extracting heat from a pond or lake.
Heat collecting pipes in a closed loop, containing water (with a little antifreeze) are used to extract this stored energy, which can then be used to provide space heating and domestic hot water. In some applications, the pump can be reversed in summer to provide an element of cooling, but these systems are not currently eligible for UK grants.
The only energy used by Ground Source Heat Pump systems is electricity to power the pumps. Typically, a Ground Source Heat Pump will deliver three or four times as much thermal energy (heat) as is used in electrical energy to drive the system. For a particularly environmental solution, green electricity can be purchased.
Ground Source Heat Pump systems have been widely used in other parts of the world, including North America and Europe, for many years Typically they cost more to install than conventional systems; however, they have very low maintenance costs and can be expected to provide reliable and environmentally friendly heating for in excess of 20 years.
Ground Source Heat Pumps work best with heating systems which are optimised to run at a lower water temperature than is commonly used in UK boiler and radiator systems. As such, they make an ideal partner for underfloor heating systems.
Information courtesy of GSHPA