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Ground source heat pumps

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Grants Available!

Up to £9,000 grants available for house-holders and up to 50% for not for profit organisations (subject to conditions.)

heat pumpsGSHP's (Ground Source Heat Pump) take latent solar energy stored in the ground and compress it to heat your house. The heat is extracted from the soil by means of buried plastic tubing. An environment-friendly non-freezing liquid circulates in the tubing and delivers the collected heat to the heat pump. In the heat pump the heat is converted into high-grade heat for space heating and if required, to produce hot water.

GSHP's operate on the same principles as a domestic fridge, except the heat is retained and the cold recycled. At around 1.5m down the ground temperature remains a fairly constant 10 to 12C° all year round. An underfloor heating system runs at roughly 40Cgshp°, the same as the warm grille found at the back of a fridge. The GSHP pushes a cold fluid (perhaps 5°C colder than the ground temperature out into a network of buried plastic pipe. As the fluid passes through the pipes it gradually absorbs heat energy from the surrounding environment. The fluid then returns to the heat pump warmer than it left. The heat pump upgrades this heat to a higher level to provide heating for your house. GSHP installations work best with underfloor heating in a well-insulated house. This is because the higher the GSHP raises the temperature the less efficient it is, and the more gshpelectrical energy is required to run it. A GSHP will work with radiators but not as efficiently and you will need to ensure that your house is very well insulated if you are to get a good return on your investment.

Example of likely cost and environmental savings. Below is a chart showing the typical comparisons of emissions and costs of heating a well-insulated house of 100 square metros by fuel type.


Heating and
HWS System
Annual fuel cost Annual CO² emissions
in tons
GSHP £305 1.6
Condensing gas boiler £350 3.0
Normal gas boiler £405 3.5
LPG £1055 4.5
Oil £666 4.8
Electticity (storage & panel) £760 6.2

The above figures were taken during a controlled experiment by Powergen and utilise the current fuel cost as of the 1/1/06. Any increases in energy costs since that date has not been included.


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