A heat source grounded in reality

The idea of having your entire heating needs satisfied by pumping liquid through a set of pipes a few metres below your feet sounds like something lifted from a sci-fi novel set in a utopian future.

Yet Ground Source Heat Pumps (GSHP) do just that, despite the unfounded opinion held by some that they are risky or unreliable thanks to the new, unfamiliar technology.

The theory goes that they are complicated to run, a hugely costly investment and that there is little (if any) CO2 benefit since they require electricity to run. But these are myths.

In reality, GSHPs can hold their own against any of the most popular forms of renewable heat, such as solar power or biomass boilers, and can often be the better choice.

There are all sorts of reasons for this from a financial, operational and risk perspective:

High Returns

This year the Department for Energy and Climate Change more than doubled the Renewable Heat Incentive for GSHPs and introduced a new dedicated tariff for deep geothermal installations.

Ground works to lay the pipes can be costly during a retrofit but minimal if other ground works – such as an extension or renovation of a building – are happening at the same time. And once installed, running costs are low too.

Approached in the right way, a highly favourable return on investment from GSHPs is easily possible.

Low Maintenance

Operationally, GSHP systems require little maintenance – often less than once a year – leaving you free to focus on other energy management activities.

They take up considerably less space than biomass heating systems too, These can burn through tonnes of biomass material each year which needs a good deal of local storage to keep running between deliveries.

Low Risk

And although there’s a higher up-front cost, GSHPs are subject to fewer risks. For example biomass is vulnerable to various elements beyond your control, such a rising fuel prices, fuel availability, material transport costs, transport logistics, and the continuing costs of emissions.

By contrast GSHP’s source of heat is local, free, consistent and 100% renewable. The main risk is a rise in the cost of electricity needed to pump the liquid around the system.

It’s also easier to run than biomass, emits less carbon and turns out to be a more cost-efficient solution over the long term.

Isn’t it about time you started thinking seriously about this utopian technology of the future?
If you would like to hear more about how EDF Energy’s energy services team can help you, please email EnergyExperts@edfenergy.com or call 0845 300 9146.

Posted by Daniel Bentham, Head of R&D Smart Customers at EDF Energy

Dan Bentham MEng CEng MEI Chartered Energy Engineer, has worked in the low carbon energy sector for over 10 years. He is currently responsible for the research and development of future energy systems and technologies such as Smart Cities, Smart Grids, Smart Businesses, Smart Metering, Connected Homes, Low Carbon Transport and Energy Storage for the UK market.


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