Gone are the days of self-sustainability being reserved only for farmers, the wealthy and those logistically incapable of connecting to the national grid. The rise of climate change awareness in popular culture and the increasing availability of more affordable, green living alternatives, has seen a massive increase in consumer centred, renewable energy options.
One technology that has seen a large increase in popularity is the Ground Source Heat Pump (GSHP) system. Although perceived as ‘new technology’ by many, GSHPs have been installed in other parts of the world for decades. The technology is well proven, reliable and extremely efficient when designed properly and installed in the right application.
So how does a GSHP system work? Very simply, energy in the form of heat is taken from the ground. There is a misconception that this is geothermal heat from the core of the earth, but it is actually solar gain from the sun. A ground collector is installed to transfer the heat from the ground to a heat exchanger that is connected to the GSHP system. There is a closed loop circuit containing refrigerant that boils at a very low temperature between the heat exchanger and the GSHP itself. The heat from the ground boils the refrigerant that is then compressed by the GSHP system making it a more usable temperature (normally between thirty five and fifty five degrees centigrade) that is then pumped around a property’s heating and hot water systems, delivering heat and hot water to the property.
There are a number of ground collector systems that can be used in conjunction with a GSHP system. These include horizontal, vertical boreholes, and lake collectors. Geological surveys are carried out on each GSHP project to determine the right type and size of collector system.
Your Future Energy recently completed an end-to-end solution for a domestic new build property. An ‘open loop’ borehole system was installed for the GSHP system to obtain its energy. With an open loop system, typically two boreholes are drilled. They are drilled down to the below aquifer where a submersible pump is installed in one. This then pumps water out of the aquifer, which is passed through the heat exchanger, where heat is extracted to heat the refrigerant circuit. The cooler water is then returned back to the aquifer in the second borehole. This makes for an extremely efficient system that is typically between four hundred and four hundred and fifty percent efficient.
With this particular project, a third borehole was also drilled to give the property a potable (drinkable) water supply so that the property could be off of the mains supply. The boreholes were drilled at the beginning of the project so that the borehole supply could also be used during the building stage of the project, further reducing overall build cost for the client. Your Future Energy then installed underfloor heating (UFH) throughout the property, together with all first and second fix plumbing works, giving the client and end-to-end solution.
Ground Source Heat Pump systems can attract the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), which is a government funded grant system for those investing in renewable technologies. Both domestic and commercial systems can obtain the grant, which can prove to be a very good investment vehicle, giving a very good Return on Investment (RoI).
Please contact Your Future Energy for more information and to see if you property could be right for a GSHP system.