Draft PPS18: Renewable Energy
Annex 1 Ground Source Heat Pumps: Introduction
H1. The average ground temperature just below the surface in the UK is between 8ºC and 13ºC and this temperature remains constant throughout the year. Ground source heat pumps (GSHP) are a means of tapping into and utilising this resource. GSHP were invented more than 50 years ago, and continuous development has greatly improved their efficiency and reliability. It is now a proven, cost-effective, safe and environmentally friendly alternative to fossil fuels that is cost-effective for certain commercial and domestic applications, particularly where mains gas is not available.
H2. The market for GSHP is currently small but growing – they are currently more common in the USA and the rest of Europe. The principal market for GSHP are domestic housing, commercial properties not connected to the natural gas network, and commercial industrial properties with stable heat demand. It is estimated that there is the potential for the number of installations to increase.
H3. GSHP are most likely to be an option where there is no access to natural gas and so the alternative may be oil or direct electric heating (storage heaters). Heat pumps ground loops can be laid in the ground or in water such as rivers, lakes or ponds.