Topic of the practice
Heating of a multi-purpose building by renewable energy source using a ground source heat pump (GSHP)
Good Practice Information
The ground source heat pump system was installed in a new shared occupancy building comprised of a special needs school and office accommodation. A combined installation of water/ heat pumps is linked to a ground-source heat installation for primary heat generation. These provide low cost, low maintenance and low CO2 generation without any local pollution from the flue gases that would have been the case if boilers were used. They also provide summertime under floor cooling using borehole water via a plate heat exchanger for cooling. The installation is comprised of an array of 70 to 80m boreholes that accommodate the closed loop pipes in a conductive grout. These are connected to two heat pump units which extract the available heat and circulate it at a useful temperature through the building heating system. The principal stakeholders are the users of the building, namely Council staff and pupils at the school. However in addition the tax payer benefits from the efficient use of public funds and indirectly the Council sustainability team by effectively meeting local and national targets. Reading Borough Council is aiming to lead industry by setting examples of high standards in construction and efficiency. In January 2008 the council agreed a target of Reading Borough Council being Zero Carbon by 2050 and this is reinforced by the action plan in Reading’s Climate Change Strategy. In addition, they were driven by local government national indicators to reduce carbon emissions from Council buildings and also within the Borough. The installation was paid for out of Local Government funds. The system would be replicable on a site with similar conditions i.e. where there is no geological heat below ground and a temperate climate. In addition this site had space restraints so used a deep bore system. This ground source system has been installed for a mixed use building - office and training facilities as well as a special needs school, where we have used zoning to maintain different levels of heat as required.
Evidence of success
The Avenue Centre combines a number of renewable energy installations - wind, solar thermal and the major installation - the ground source heat pump which heats the building. The building is in compliance with the Reading Borough Council Local Development Framework Core Strategy which requires that all developments of more than 1000m2 floor space incorporate on-site generation of energy from renewable sources and energy efficient design measures to off-set at least 20% of predicted carbon dioxide emissions from the estimated energy usage of the completed and occupied development.
Contact details to obtain further information on the practice
Reading Borough Council
Annex completed on: 03-25-2011