What is a ground source heat pump?
Ground source heat pumps extract thermal energy (heat) from the ground near your property and convert this into heating and hot water for your home. Ground source heat pumps are designed to work in cold temperatures and are incredibly efficient. They do require electricity to operate, but 75% of the energy required is generated from the thermal energy stored in the ground, with only 25% being required from electricity. This means that 75% of the energy you use will be from a renewable source, which will reduce your emissions and CO2 impact.
Ground source heat pumps are suitable for homes that have suitable land to install ground arrays or a borehole system.
What is a ground array?
A ground array consist of a series of pipes that are installed underground. It is important that the land can be accessed by digging machinery and is suitable for trenches to be dug. The pipes then absorb thermal energy from the ground, which is used by the heat pump to generate heating and hot water. Ground arrays do require more room than borehole systems so are better suited for properties with ample land. Although the installation does require digging trenches, the finished installation will not be noticeable, and any turf can be replaced or reseeded once completed.
What is a borehole system
Borehole systems are better suited for properties that have limited land space and don’t qualify for ground arrays. It is important that the land can be accessed by digging and drilling machinery in order for a borehole system to be installed. Boreholes are created by digging a hole into the ground in order to reach thermal energy much deeper in the earth. The greater the depth of the hole, the hotter the temperatures and more thermal energy can be absorbed. The depth of the hole will all depend on your property as the hole will be sized to accommodate the heating and hot water demands the system will need to cater for. Boreholes usually take less time to drill when compared to ground arrays and have less aesthetic impact on the surrounding environment when the work is underway. Like ground arrays though, boreholes cannot be seen when the installation is complete.
The advantages of using thermal energy from the ground:
- Provides heating and hot water for your home
- Perfect for properties that have land to install a ground array or borehole system
- Heat pumps can be housed indoors or inside outbuildings where required
- Suitable for a range of properties
- Quiet during operation
- Works in cold outside temperatures
- Compatible with radiators and underfloor heating
- Minimal ongoing maintenance
- No fuel deliveries or fuel stored onsite
- Possible to benefit from Government incentives such as the Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS)
Is an ground source heat pump suitable for my property?
Here are a few things to consider when looking into an ground source heat pump system for your property:
Do you have suitable outside space for the ground source heat pump to be installed?
It is important that any land around your property can be accessed by digging and/or drilling machinery for the installation to be completed successfully
Is your home well insulated?
Generating heating and hot water sustainably is only beneficial if you have improved the efficiency of your home. Each property is unique, but it is important to understand what other measures can be done to reduce heat being lost in your home. Looking at loft insulation and whether you have double glazing windows will be a good start, but consult a professional for further guidance on what is feasible for your home.
Are you looking to replace a heating system, or for a new build is this the first heating system to be installed?
Replacing an ageing heating system will deliver faster benefits due to the improvements in efficiency. However, for new build homes, it is worth discussing with your installer how your heat pump system will work throughout your home – this includes choosing underfloor heating or radiators, as well as suitable controls to operate it.