Home Is Where The Heat Is
How to use your garden, lake, or even the sea, to heat your home and earn a guaranteed income.
While ground based applications of ground source heat pumps is widely recognised – and particularly beneficial in the South West where we have excellent ground conditions, which make for super-efficient systems – few know that water sources such as the sea can be used to supply heat to the home using a ‘ground source heat pump’, too.
Ground source heat pumps are being used to great effect in properties where the heat source is a pond, river, lake, stream, canal, even the sea!
Kensa Heat Pumps, who manufactures ground source heat pumps on a former mine site outside Truro, even supply all of the RNLI Tamar lifeboat class and their boat stations too! In fact, even Kensa’s offices are heated by a ground source heat pump which uses heat from mine water under the site.
So – how does a ground source heat pump use a relatively cold body of water to provide enough heat to your home?
Heat energy (typically from the sun) is stored in the ground and water all around us, at a constant temperature all year round. Ground source heat pumps are designed to extract this heat energy via an array of collectors (sometimes referred to as ground collectors or ground arrays); the collector can take many forms, most commonly coils of pipe buried in trenches, a borehole in rock, or coils of pipe attached to a submerged ‘mat’ in a lake, pond, river, stream or yes, even the sea!
The buried or submerged pipes that make up the collectors absorb heat from the water or earth – as heat naturally flows from warmer to cooler places, the ‘heat’ in the surrounding area is attracted to a cold liquid that is circulated around the pipe collectors. The pipes then feed this heat back to a ground source heat pump located inside the home. The heat pump compresses and condenses the heat sourced from the sea or soil, increasing its temperature – this heat is then fed into the radiators, underfloor heating system, and hot water cylinder to around 55°C – more than sufficient to keep your property lovely and warm and supplied with plentiful hot water.
Water is an excellent heat source for ‘ground source heat pump’ due to its exceptional thermal conductivity and flow, which ensures constant energy replacement. Due to water’s constant close contact with the pipe collector, and waters excellent heat transfer rate, typically the temperature to the heat pump is 5-6°C higher than that from ground sources.
Ground source heat pumps are extremely energy efficient, with every unit of electricity used (to drive the pump and compressor), producing between 3 and 4 units of heat. This means heating costs are effectively quartered.
Due to their high efficiencies, CO2 emissions are significantly lower than traditional fossil fuelled systems (up to 43% lower than gas).
To maximise on your ground source heat pump’s efficiency, and to make the most money back through the Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive which pays you for the heat your ground source heat pump produces every quarter for seven years – it is recommended you ensure your project is as well insulated and efficient as possible. After all, the less work your heat pump needs to perform to increase the heat temperature from the sea or soil to meet your heating requirements, the less energy it consumes, meaning you save even more on your heating costs, and still get paid a generous sum from the Government for using a renewable heating source – win-win!
To find out more about how a ground source heat pup works watch this video
This blog was provided by Kensa Heat Pumps