A ground source heat pump takes the heat stored in the ground around a property and upgrades it to a higher temperature. At a depth of just a metre, ground temperatures stay constant at 10-12°C throughout the year.
Ground source heat pumps are powered electrically, but because they are able to capture such a high amount of ‘free’ energy from the ground, they produce up to three or four times more energy than they consume. Due to their high efficiencies, the CO2 emissions of ground source heat pumps are significantly lower than traditional fossil fuelled systems – up to 43% lower than gas.
The RHI has been introduced by the Government to encourage self-builders to install renewable heating systems like ground source heat pumps, helping to reduce the UK’s carbon emissions. This scheme makes quarterly payments to homeowners every year for seven years, helping to offset the cost of installing a renewable heating system.
Chris Davis, heat pump expert Kensa’s Commercial Director, comments: “Falling oil prices are currently delivering respite for many customers in off gas areas, however the long term cost of oil is really a guessing game given its historical peaks and troughs. For people currently seeking a heating system for a building project, the impact of this selection on their bills could be of great consequence for many years to come.
“By following our top tips, keen developers can quickly establish whether they could expect more than just heat from their new heating system, and benefit from a guaranteed seven year income from the Government, as well as reduced energy bills.”
1. Check your property’s insulation levels
For renovation projects in particular, the better insulated your home the more efficient it is to heat, which means smaller energy bills. Your home’s efficiency will also impact the size of the heating system you require – the lower your heat demand, the smaller and cheaper the heating system, and the less work it needs to do. All together, this equals fewer costs to running your home.
2. Reach for the stars
Whether you have underfloor heating or radiators and what type of floor covering you use can all effect what the industry call your ‘system star rating’. The more efficient your selections, the higher your star rating, which ultimately means lower fuel bills. Typically well insulated homes with under-floor heating downstairs and radiators upstairs return the best results.
3. Your land is worth more than you think
Whether you have a modest lawn or acres, you’d be surprised how much your land could earn for you. There are many different ways to extract the heat from the ground, from space-saving boreholes to cost-effective trenches, to water sources which provide the most efficient heat extraction for the heat pump.