Cut your home's carbon emissions and its energy bills by choosing a ground source heat pump as its renewable energy source

PROMOTIONAL FEATURE

view of eco house set in grounds with water feature lawn and trees

Image: Kensa Heat Pumps

Familiar with the expression ‘work smarter, not harder’? Kensa Heat Pumps explains why ground source heat pump systems, combined with smart controls, time of use tariffs and energy storage, are the shrewdest renewable heating option for self-builders and homeowners wanting to save money… and the planet.

Choosing the most efficient renewable heating system

The Future Homes Standard that will be introduced in 2025 means that homebuilders will be required to fit low carbon heating in all new-builds. Those currently looking either to replace their heating system as part of a renovation, or to install one into a new build project, face a decision: whether to switch from fossil fuels to a low-carbon alternative, such as ground source heat pumps, sooner rather than later.

Around 22 million homes in the UK are currently heated by gas. While modern condensing boilers can be over 90% efficient, a ground source heat pump can achieve efficiencies of 400%. That’s because, by utilising freely available heat energy from the ground, electrically powered heat pumps produce three to four times as much energy as they consume.

As more renewable energy from wind and solar comes onto the grid, the price of electricity is set to decrease, lowering the running costs of ground source heat pumps and creating greater savings.

 a modern stone and wood home being built

Image: Kensa Heat Pumps

Smart heating systems

Ground source heat pumps are able to run at times when demand for electricity is lowest and prices are therefore cheapest, and also when there is more power available from renewable electricity generation sources, such as wind and solar, meaning the electricity supplied is the lowest in carbon.

They’re perfect for this type of load-shifting, as they’re quiet and unlikely to disturb anyone, and also the temperatures below ground remain constant no matter the time of day (or, indeed, season). A homeowner could actually recharge their hot water cylinder through the night when demand and price are lowest – ready for them to use the next day.

This doesn’t mean compromising on comfort or getting up bleary-eyed in the middle of the night to switch on your heat pump. Kensa’s ground source heat pumps can integrate with smart controls that cleverly learn your household’s unique heating schedule. They synchronise this with flexible time-of-use tariffs that vary the cost of electricity throughout the day depending on demand.

The heat pump uses forecasted electricity prices to create a dynamic heating schedule for the following day. This allows the heat pump to take advantage of the lowest cost, lowest carbon electricity whilst still keeping you nice and warm, with plenty of hot water available exactly when you need it.

Other emerging smart technology, such as thermal storage batteries and phase change materials, allow you to store the heat energy generated during those low-cost and low-carbon hours for use later.

 view of eco house with wooden framed building on top of glass area

Image: Kensa Heat Pumps

Ground source heat pumps: a case study

Owen Stinchcombe built the high tech eco house of his dreams in rural Gloucester, complete with a Kensa ground source heat pump seamlessly linked to innovative smart controls to keep his home at an optimum temperature at all times. The system is integrated with a 6kW Solar PV array on the roof linked to battery storage, which generates and stores supplementary electricity which Owen can use to run the ground source heat pump.

It was important to Owen that the house was as environmentally-friendly as possible. He said: “We designed the build as close to Passiv-Haus standards as possible to provide maximum energy efficiency. This is my ‘forever home’, and I wanted it to be comfortable and cost-effective to run in the future. I’m practically self-sufficient in terms of power and heat.”

There was gas in the area, but not supplied directly to the property, and it would have cost Owen thousands to get the infrastructure in place. When he compared the efficiency of gas to a ground source heat pump and made an analysis of the costs and benefits, he knew this was a better route to go down.

a snug in a home with stone walls wall mounted tv and benches

Image: Kensa Heat Pumps

Smart tech in action

Owen was keen to have simple and seamless heating controls but with maximum control. The ground source heat pump is integrated with a whole house management system, which is also controllable by an app. By leveraging best of breed systems to monitor temperature, occupancy, MVHR, energy and weather conditions, the set up maximises comfort whist keeping energy use and cost to a minimum. It runs autonomously, learning trends and providing data to assist future projects.

Not only the heating runs on this system, but every light in the house and garden is centrally controllable utilising occupancy sensors in every room and ambient light to adjust the brightness of each space. Having the whole house on one system allows for things such as hot water return loops to be run on actual room usage, rather than timers, further saving energy.

 The Kensa Evo ground source heat pump

Image: Kensa Heat Pumps

To learn more about ground source heat pumps and Kensa, the UK’s only manufacturer, visit The Kensa Heat Pumps website

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