Air Source or Ground Source Heat Pumps
More and more customers are switching to renewable heating alternatives as a way of combatting rising heating bills and lowering the carbon footprint of their home. One renewable technology that has increased in popularity as the demand for energy efficient technologies has grown is a heat pump.
Switching to a heat pump solution removes dependence from traditional technologies and fossil fuels and provides significant energy savings from day one.
Heat pumps generate usable heat from energy stored within the air (air source heat pumps) or ground (ground source heat pumps). A heat pump provides heating and hot water by upgrading existing energy stored in the air or ground into usable energy for our homes. The result of this process is an incredibly efficient product that is capable of reducing heating bills by between 30 and 50 percent when compared to gas, oil and LPG alternatives.
Cornish company GreenGenUK has been installing heat pumps since they opened in 2011 and have vast knowledge in designing and specifying bespoke solutions of both air and ground source systems.
Neil Rollinson who works in Sales and Marketing for GreenGen believes the key to an efficient installation that offers customers the biggest benefits is in the design:
“One of the first things a customer interested in a heat pump will ask us is whether air source or ground source is better, but there’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ with a heat pump.”
“Each home and each individual’s heating demand varies and so will their system. It’s not as simple as saying I want ground source or I want air source, the trick is to specify the right system that can sufficiently handle their heating and hot water demand. That being said, there’s definitely different benefits of each system.”
Air source heat pumps offer a much easier installation process than their ground source counterpart. With just one external unit that’s usually positioned on an external wall, air source offers lower uptake costs, quicker installations and simpler maintenance. Space requirements are minimal and an install can usually be undertaken within a week.
Due to the need to attain heat from within the ground, ground source heat pumps require a larger amount of land to attain the heat required to meet domestic demand and are typically have higher uptake costs. However, the process of attaining energy from within the ground is more effective. As a result, ground source solutions offer better outputs and returns.
Ground source installations typically generate between four and five units of heat energy for every one unit of electricity the system takes to run. Air source unit tend to produce between three and four units for every one unit of energy put in. Each alternative will boast significant reductions in running costs but savings from a ground source installation will be higher.
In addition to energy savings, both systems are eligible for incentive payments from the government through the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme. The RHI pays customer switching to a renewable heating solution for the renewable energy generated by their system over a period of seven years. Air source heat pump customers earn 7.51 p/pKw and ground source heat pumps are eligible for a much greater 19.33 p/pkW from their system.
The added energy savings plus higher incentive payments help to combat the higher start-up costs of ground source. GreenGen estimates that the majority of retrofitted heat pump units will become cost neutral within their first seven years, despite most modern applications having a design life of 20 years.
Neil’s closing comments seemed to echo the views of the majority of domestic customers considering a heat pump:
“The best way to guarantee the right system for your property is to enlist the help of an expert. For our clients, we undertake a complete heat loss calculation which then tells us the right system for a property. We’ll breakdown the costs and benefits and the process ensures customers with the right system for their home.”
GreenGenUK offer free surveys, consultations and proposals to customers in Cornwall considering a renewable alternative and are always happy to offer free, impartial advice on all the solutions they offer.
Visit them at www.greengenuk.com or give them a call on 01326 564513.