What is Ground Source Heating and Cooling?
Ground source heat pumps can be used to heat buildings by transfering heat from the ground in winter: Ground Source Heating.
They can equally be used in commercial buildings to transfer heat back into the ground in summer: Ground Source Cooling.
It can be cheaper in capital cost to install one integrated Ground Source Heating and Cooling system than two separate systems. The traditional alternative is to provide heating in winter with a gas boiler (burning fossil fuels) and a second separate system to provide cooling in summer (whose high use of electricity causes further burning of fossil fuels at the power stations).
The ground source method of providing cooling is radically less expensive to run than providing cooling by using roof mounted chillers because it is much cheaper to heat exchange with cold ground than hot air.
There is a by-product of heat exchanging with cold ground to provide cooling to the building in summer: this warms up the ground in time to provide heating more cheaply in winter.
There is also a by-product of heat exchanging with warm ground to provide heating to the building in winter: this cools down the ground in time to provide cooling more cheaply in the summer.
This virtuous circle can be repeated year after year to provide a sustainable heating system. What's more you will only face an annual maintenance cost for one system instead of two.
The ground – mother earth – can act as a very large store of heat energy: it can provide Thermal Energy Storage. It can be used as a heat source in winter, or a heat sink in summer. The ground can be used to moderate the temperature in buildings standing on it.
Installation of Ground Source Heating and Cooling Systems
To get the full benefit of a GSHC installation you will need to employ someone with design and installation experience of integrated heating and cooling systems. A GSHC system may not perform well unless it is incorporated into a good design by someone who understands the needs of the building, the use to which the building is being put and the local geology.
For more information on installation of ground source heating and cooling from an experienced source please contact one of our members.
The Environment Agency encourages well-balanced Ground Source Heating and Cooling systems.
See Environment Agency position on GSHC