Ground Source Heat Pumps For Commercial Use
Ground Source Heat Pumps (GSHPs) can provide heating and hot water for a range of residential and commercial properties by extracting heat from the ground. This means a home or business can use clean, low carbon, consistent energy all year round.
GSHP’s work by extracting heat from the ground. This is done by burying ground loops at least 1 meter below the surface of the ground. The length of pipe required depends on how much heat needs to be extracted to meet the heat demand of a property.
Starting from 5kW to 100’s of kW’s in power output, there is a GSHP set up suitable for most heating applications. Not only do they provide cost effective operation, but they are also supported through the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) and provide an attractive return on investment.
There are several features of a GSHP heating system that make them preferential over traditional fossil fuel heating systems.
Firstly, a GSHP will decrease your heating and hot water bills, especially when replacing a fossil fuel central heating boiler and can still provide your building with 100% of your heating and hot water demand.
The pumps aren’t just a source of heat in the winter, but also can provide passive cooling to your buildings and act as a back up to air conditioning if required.
Because the pumps are buried underground, the technology is often known as an “invisible heating system” and remains out of sight – freeing up space for other uses. A benefit of them being underground means very little maintenance is required, being ideal for any business.
Heat pumps are ideal for use with other technologies, such as under floor heating as the pumps transfer heat at a higher coefficient if it is delivered to a large warm water circuit, than a small warm water circuit, i.e. radiators. For more information on under floor heating and the benefits, take a look at our Product Page.
Another benefit of GSHPs is the potential to add value to your property. Using clean sources of renewable energy is increasing in popularity by the day and many buildings and homes are already looking for new ways to utilise green energy. By installing the likes of ground source heat pumps and solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, you can increase the value of your property, and future proof against the inevitable utility price increases.
How It Works
Ground Source Heat Pumps use underground pipes to extract heat energy, providing heat for radiators, under floor heating and domestic hot water. Heat from the ground is absorbed at a low temperature, then circulates a mixture of water and antifreeze around the pipe loop (also known as a ground loop). This then passes through a heat exchanger into the heat pump, then through a compressor to raise the temperature. The cooled ground loop fluid that’s left over passes back into the ground where it absorbs more energy, making a continuous loop. The ground stays at a similar temperature throughout the year so the pump can be run continuously, with no seasonal interruption.
Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)
The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is put in place to encourage people to install ground source heat pumps in commercial buildings. Both residential and commercial installations are supported through the RHI but operate slightly differently.
The non-domestic incentive is a government backed programme aimed at businesses, which offers financial support in exchange for the installation and use of renewable heating equipment. Ofgem currently pay 9.09 pence per kWhour generated every quarter for 20 years. Although this may not seem much initially, your ground pumps will be produce plenty of renewable heat and that 9 pence soon adds up.
To be eligible for this incentive, you must use verified installers and provide evidence of the installation (we can help with this). For more information on the RHI, head on over to their website.
The domestic renewable heat incentive or DRHI is for home owners in the UK. It is a financial support system to encourage the uptake of renewable energy systems in the residential market. The current renewable heat incentive payment is currently 19.64p/kW.
Costs & Savings
Typically, a Ground Source Heat Pump will cost more to install than a standard heating system, or its heat pump counterpart, the Air Source Heat Pump (ASHP). This is generally down to the space required to power the unit and the works to facilitate its installation.
When compared against your average home heating system though, they beat them every time. With low maintenance costs and the return from the government being paid regularly, you can be sure your heating is effective – and don’t forget, you’ll be generating your own heat so decreasing your energy costs from the Big Six!
Ground source heat pumps are fantastic when it comes to the impact they have on the environment, and can be a real boost to your Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy.
Couple your heat pump with a clean energy system (such as Solar PV) and your reliance on the utility grid will plummet, paving the way for a low carbon emission future.
As far as maintenance is concerned, GSHPs need very little and come with a warranty of at least 2-3 years (dependent on manufacturer). The systems are built to last and operate for at least 20 years, but it is recommended maintenance is undertaken at least once a year. Here at The Greener Group we can help with any maintenance or advice that you may require.
GSHPs are extremely efficient and for every kilowatt of electricity used to run the system, 3 to 4 kilowatts of heat energy can be generated. The amount of energy and efficiency you can get from your GSHP system depends on the quality of design and installation of the system.
To get the full benefits of a ground source heat pump, it’s important to choose a company with the installation and design experience to understand the needs of the building. By choosing The Greener Group to install your system, we can help you provide sustainable energy throughout your entire building. For more information or a quote, contact us.