Ground source heat pump answers rural central heating problem

When considering the complete refurbishment of his house to the east of Bristol – and in particular the question of central heating – new owner, Mr O’Connell, was faced with one small problem. The house was located in a rural area with no mains gas supply and the cost of connection by British Gas was quoted as a staggering £175,000.

However this, together with the cost of oil, an awareness of renewable energy alternatives and a chance sighting of a Worcester Bosch advertisement on a petrol pump set him off on a “green” route that ended with a very satisfactory conclusion.

Detailed research led him to Gregor Heating & Renewable Energy and after visiting their website, as well as their Warmley Energy Centre where renewable systems can be seen in operation, planning began for a ground source heat pump system backed by solar energy panels. Grants from both Worcester Bosch and the Government to help with installation costs were obtained.

A ground source heat pump is an electrically powered system that uses the natural energy stored in the earth. The principle is simple and the result is low-cost comfortable heating that uses sustainable energy and causes no direct emissions or other damage to the environment. For every single kilowatt of electricity used to power the pump, four kilowatts or more of energy can be generated.

In Mr O’Connell’s case, two, seventy-metre deep boreholes were first drilled by a specialist contractor. Heat absorbed by collectors within the boreholes provide the ambient heat from which pressurised domestic hot water and 180 sq. metres of under-floor heating to the ground and first floors of the property is produced via a Worcester Greenstore Heat Pump. Two Worcester Greenskies Solar Panels mounted on a south-facing roof elevation were installed to supplement the domestic hot water requirement.

Although too early to assess actual fuel cost savings, Mr O’Connell is already delighted with the efficiency of the system. He said: “What I particularly liked about Gregor Heating was their straight forward and honest approach. Problems to be avoided were identified and suggestions, such as the need to properly insulate the house in order to attain maximum efficiency, were clearly explained. I am very happy to recommend them to anyone considering renewable energy installations”.

A further plus identified by Mr O’Connell is the value that the renewable energy system has added to his property.