Green square blog featuring current issues and information on renewable energy and its efficiency, reliability and how to make the swap to renewable energy. Information on products biomass boilers, biomass stoves, air source heat pumps, ground source heat pumps, solar PV, solar thermal.

The Logic Behind Ground Source Heat Pumps

Ground source heat pumps work by drawing heat from the ground, transferring the heat by pumping water through it and eventually distributing it via your under floor heating and radiator systems, or warm air heating systems.

In addition, general hot water can also be supplied to your property. The great news is that ground source heat pumps can still sustain your heating throughout the year like through below zero temperatures. This is because the ground temperature is generally between 6-12 degrees throughout the year.


An introduction to Ground Source Heat Pumps

Ground source heat pumps are stand-alone units. Generally, the unit itself will be around the size of your fridge freezer system. They are versatile, as they can be installed both inside and outside of your home, or your business premises alike. Groundwork needs to be in place around the unit, which is called the ground-loop system. This is the collective term for all of the pipe work that collects the heat energy from the ground. These are usually buried under gardens for homes, as it is the most convenient for the majority of homeowners. Usually, there will need to be access for digging machinery so it is best to check with our installers on your particular circumstances. Domestic ground source heat pumps tend to be permitted on developments, however you should check specific details against your local authorities, or speak to our of our advisors at Green Square to find out more about possible planning permission.

NIBE ground source heat pumps

NIBE ground source heat pumps

The inner process involves a combination of water and antifreeze circulating around the groundwork pipe system that is buried out of sight. The heat from the ground is then absorbed into the fluid mixture, through a device called a heat exchanger and then finally into the heat pump unit. The size of your property will determine your heat requirements from your ground source heat pump - and therefore the size of the underground loop system. If your property has a substantial amount of space to work with, you will be able to install much longer loops. The purpose of longer loops is to generate more heat at a quicker rate.

However, if your space is limited, there are alternative options to explore e.g. a vertical system. This system means that the pipes are buried inside of a borehole in the ground. Depending on the size of the system you need, the hole could be between 15 and 100 metres deep.

Although the ground source heat pumps are usually better suited to new build properties for ease of installation (as with many renewable products it’s a great advantage to architects and designers to integrate from the initial stages), it is of course possible to retrofit to an existing property. You can also take steps to ensure that your property will make the most of your new heat pump system by preparing in advance. A well-insulated house means the heat your unit will generate can be put to better use, otherwise the heat will escape at a quicker rate.

Why choose a ground source heat pump?

Reducing your carbon footprint and carbon emissions with ground source heat pumps

Ground source heat pumps produce less co2 than conventional heating systems, making to an environmentally friendly option. Facts show that our co2 levels are predicted to rise every year, so it is certainly something to familiarise yourself with and how you can help with your carbon footprint. A mid range heat pump will use a third of the energy needed for an average gas or oil boiler to produce exactly the same amount of heat!

Lower your heating and energy bills with ground source

Depending on which type of fuel you are using beforehand (conventional electric heating for example) you could considerably reduce your heating bills. As well as this, ground source heat pumps qualify for the UK Governments Renewable Heat Incentive schemes means that you earn payments for just installing the heat pump systems in your property. The payments depend on how big the system is, and how much heat you are generating individually.

Estimations when replacing systems with ground source heat pump


*example based on an average 4 bedroom detached house

Introduce an efficient and low maintenance alternative

The efficiency will also depend how you use your heating. Ground source heat pumps work considerably well for longer, at lower temperatures, meaning they do take time to heat your entire property, home or business premises. This is how many renewable energy products work, as it is environmentally friendly. Electricity is needed to power the pump, when dispatching the liquids around the ground loop system. Every unit of electricity used within the pump, the property owner will get between 2 and 4 units of heat - making ground source heat pumps a very efficient renewable energy product. Another way of explaining it is they move energy rather than create it. For every 3kW of heat moved into your home it only uses 1kW of electricity. This is a performance efficiency of 300%!

Heat pump installation costs and income payments with RHI

Your new ground source heat pump Initial costs for installation could see expenditure ranging from £13,000 - £20,000 which is a big investment for most people. One of the main things to keep in mind when spending on renewable energy products is that as well as being sustainable; you will see returns on your investments in the long run too. Although it will vary between cases, as a guide, you could expect to see 80-100% of your costs covered over the yearly domestic or commercial RHI installment payment scheme. This could range from £2,500 - £4000. Details of the 2017 RHI scheme pricing can be found here.

Green square offers a variety of ground source heat pump products which you can view here. Find out more about our products and which will be best suited to you including our popular and innovative NIBE range and our DIMPLEX range. Alternatively, contact one of our renewable energy experts via our online form where we will be happy to help.