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What is Renewable Heat ?

With the general concern of minimising the burning of fossil fuels 

 
to generate heat. Renewable Heat is the application of renewable energy to the generation of heat for domestic and commercial heating. One of the most efficient sources for collecting heat is the ground. The earth forms a massive heat sink, it is warmed up in the summer (and it cools down in the winter). However, the enormous mass of the earth ensures that almost everywhere below a depth of 10 metres (see diagram) the earth is at a temerature of 9-10C. 

What is a heat pump?
A Heat Pump is used to extract the heat in the fluid being circulated in the collector system and concentrates into a useful form for distribution within the home for heating or hot water.

How does it work?
A Heat Pump works in a similar way to your refridgerator.
Heat collection is achieved by installing a series of pipes in the ground, the pipes contain a water/glycol mixture at a low temperature. The surrounding soil typically has a temperature of 10-13C and gently warms the glycol mixture as it is pumped around the pipes.
The warmed liquid is fed into a heat exchanger which extracts the heat and returns the cooled liquid to collector loop for the next cycle.

The extracted heat is then used to either warm the house through a distribution system such as under-floor pipes or a domestic hot water system.

Some systems also allow the system to be reversed, such that in summer, heat can be extracted from the house and placed back into the ground using the same collector pipework. However, a different collector system (within the house) is usually needed to extract the heat from the air in the house.

How efficient is a GSHP system?

 

The efficiency of Heat Pump systems are measured using a Coefficient of Performance (CoP). A GSHP system generally has a CoP of 4.0 This means that for every 1kW of electrical energy used to run the system, it will produce 4kW of heat.

Will it save me money?
Since a GSHP system utilises energy in a more efficient manner, it is bound to save you money. And as fossil fuels such as oil and gas are likely to suffer from increasing prices, the saving should become greater in time. 

Because you are moving heat, rather than creating it by burning oil or gas the system is much more efficient with savings up to 70% of your annual running cost.

In addition, if you are using renewable electricity to run your GSHP system, then carbon footprint of your house will be substantially reduced.