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National Heat Pump Award winners

nhpa winner rectangle

Geowarmth scoop multiple awards at the National Heat Pump Awards

Geowarmth has scooped 4 awards at the prestigious National Heat Pump Awards held at the ICC in Birmingham in June 2014.  Geowarmth had 6 entries shortlisted in 5 categories at the National Heat Pump Awards 2014 and received 3 wins and a highly commended.  A short video of the awards is on YouTube.

Geowarmth won Non-Domestic Installer of the Year. The judges reviewed a number of Geowarmth's commercial installations including a ground source heat pump scheme at Durham University Business School which was Geowarmth's 3rd project with the University and a ground source heat pump at Fountains Abbey in Ripon which is a World Heritage site. The installation at Fountains Abbey also won the Commercial Ground Source Installation of the year category and was shortlisted in the In-Situ Monitoring Award.

Geowarmth's third award was Domestic Ground Source Installation of the Year Single Dwelling for an open loop heat pump system also installed in Ripon at the property of a founder member of the Ground Source Heat Pump Association. An open loop heat pump takes ground water from a water well and extracts heat from this.

Geowarmth were highly commended in the Domestic Installer of the year category. Geowarmth's projects in this category included a trio of heat pumps installed in a Northumberland farmhouse together with a solar thermal hot water system and photovoltaic panels for generating electricity. The energy generated by the solar panels entirely offsets the running costs of the heat pumps.

A summary of Geowarmth's results at the National Heat Pump Awards 2014 is as follows:

  • Installation of the Year-Domestic, Ground/Water Source: WINNER and a shortlisted entry
  • Installation of the Year-Commercial, Ground/Water Source: WINNER 
  • Domestic Installer of the Year: HIGHLY COMMENDED
  • Non-Domestic Installer of the Year : WINNER
  • In-Situ Monitoring Award : shortlisted

More details of Geowarth's entries are:

Installation of the Year-Domestic, Ground/Water Source

Northumberland farmhouse2

Geowamth's shortlisted entry in this category was a farmhouse in Northumberland where Geowarmth have installed a trio of heat pumps and a trio of renewables.  The installation comprises 3 x Dimplex SI11MEH (single phase) heat pumps, 1000 litre buffer tank with solar coil, 500 litre solar preheat cylinder, 3 local 200 litre domestic hot water cylinders distributed around the property, underfloor heating, 6 boreholes, 6 Dimplex flat plate solar thermal collectors and 40 Romag photovoltaic panels.

The client wanted a low carbon home with good integration of renewable technologies. Underfloor heating and heat pumps was the preferred heating system. Support from solar technologies was also desired including the ability of solar thermal to contribute to space heating. The idea was that solar would contribute substantially to the running costs of the heat pumps.

3 phase power is not available at the site although there is a good 2 phase supply. Accordingly Geowarmth needed to select single phase heat pumps. Since they would be providing domestic hot water as well, models from Dimplex's SIH high temperature range were chosen. Geowarmth worked closely with the client's mechanical and electrical consultant and guided the design of the integration of the renewable technologies. Geowarmth investigated the site geology and found a mixture of mudstone and sandstone as is typical in the area. Ground loop modelling software was used to determine the number of boreholes for the heating load profile of the building. The selection of underfloor heating at 150mm pipe centres will allow low flow temperatures from the heat pumps thus minimising running costs and maximising COP and hence RHI returns.

Heat pump electrical consumption has been estimated at around 13,000kWh per annum. However this should be completely offset by the 40 panel PV array which will generate around 9,000kWh per annum and the 6 panel solar thermal array which will produce around 5,000kWh per annum.  All black solar panels were chosen to blend in with the traditional slate roof and the solar PV panels were manufactured just a few miles away in Consett.

The client's project manager, said "Whilst the overall construction project has presented a few challenges, it was a pleasure to have Geowarmth undertaking the renewables installation. The design team knew them well from previous projects and were confident they would deliver on this scheme. The scale and complexity are larger than most domestic projects. Geowarmth provided valuable input at the design stage and executed their work in a timely and professional manager. The plant room installation demonstrates the quality of their workmanship. We are particularly pleased with the solar technologies providing a substantial contribution to offset the electrical consumption of the heat pumps."

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When a founding member of the Ground Source Heat Pump Association wants a heat pump installed he clearly wants the best.  A domestic open loop heat pump system was installed by Geowarmth at his barn conversion at Studley Roger near Ripon and this won the Domestic Installation of the year.

A Nibe Fighter F1245-8kW (single phase) heat pump (MCS accredited) with an integrated 180 litre domestic hot water cylinder was connected to an open loop abstraction water well (with submersible borehole pump) via a plate heat exchanger. The heat pump is providing heat for an underfloor heating system as well as domestic hot water. The project also features PV and rainwater harvesting.

Our client was one of the 'founding' members of the Ground Source Heat Pump Association (then the Ground Source Heat Pump Trade Association) in 2006 when he was running a renewable energy business and thus has a first class knowledge of the technology and what makes for an efficient system. Although no longer active as an installer, our client still does some heat pump consultancy work.

Geowarmth have been installing ground source heat pumps since 2004 and the client was aware of Geowarmth's other work locally. Although domestic open loop schemes are not very common, Geowarmth have experience of them and were able to advise how the scheme could best be undertaken to achieve the client's objectives.

An investigation of the geology indicated that the Cadeby Formation Dolostone – or magnesium limestone – would be found under the property. The magnesian limestone beneath the site is classed as a principal aquifer by the Environment Agency and the site does not lie within any currently designated source protection zone for groundwater abstraction. Hence an open loop scheme was viable.

The client said "I was pleased with the approach from Geowarmth from my first contact with them. It was clear they had the experience to deal with my non typical domestic installation. They provided sound advice and worked with me to develop an efficient system. When it came to installation the work was undertaken neatly and efficiently. I was delighted to get my RHPP money in good time and we are certainly enjoying the benefits of the low running costs of the system."

Installation of the Year - Commercial, Ground/Water Source

 visitor centre 750 181

A World Heritage Site, Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden are set in 800 acres and include the 12th century abbey ruins, the Georgian water garden of Studley Royal and a medieval deer park. It is a major visitor attraction with 344,000 visitors per annum and the visitor centre is now heated by Geowarmth ground source heat pumps which won the Non-Domestic installation of the year.

The National Trust is keen to ensure the special places they look after are protected forever. That is why they have committed to use 20 per cent less energy, halve fossil fuel use and generate 50 per cent of their energy from renewable sources by 2020.  The Fountains Abbey Visitor Centre is a bold modern building dating from the early 1990's and features underfloor heating. Sweeping slate roofs, dry stone walls and curved lead roofs around an inner courtyard also make it a very Yorkshire building.  The underfloor heating was served by LPG boilers. Since these were in need of replacement, ground source heat pumps were a logical alternative. They would be in keeping with the National Trust's mission of reducing its carbon footprint and would also save on running costs.

A ground source heat pump can make considerable running cost savings compared to LPG particularly when connected to a low temperature heating distribution system like underfloor heating. With a heating load of 221,000kWh per annum and a domestic hot water load of 25,000kWh per annum Geowarmth calculated anticipated running cost savings of around £15,000 per annum plus 24 tonnes of CO2 saving.

Chris Fowler, General Manager of Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal said "The Fountains Abbey visitor centre heating replacement scheme was a major project for us and it was crucial to plan thoroughly to ensure a smooth execution of the works without impacting on our visitor experience. We very much appreciated Geowarmth's practical and knowledgeable guidance to this part of the process. When it came to the installation phase of the works they performed well with high professional standards. Post installation they have continued to look after us, assisting with what has been a complex RHI process.  Our new overflow car park above the ground loop pipes has had some good use already. Financially, based on the savings achieved so far we are expecting running cost savings close to £15,000 per annum compared with running the old LPG boilers. Together with an RHI income of over £10,000 per year the project has been a good investment for the National Trust as well as reducing our reliance on fossil fuels."

Domestic Installer of the Year

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Geowarmth were highly commended in the Domestic Installer of the year category.

An example of one of Geowarmth's domestic installations is a trio of ground source heat pumps installed in a large country house in North Yorkshire.  The client's mechanical consultant knew of Geowarmth's previous work and contacted them for early advice as the scheme developed. The site did not have three phase power and plant room space was limited. A substantial renovation project meant insulation standards were being improved and underfloor heating and radiators sized for heat pump flow temperatures would be installed. However heat pumps to meet a heat loss in excess of 40kW were required and the client wanted to benefit from the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI).

Geowarmth selected 3 x Dimplex SI14ME heat pumps which would produce a thermal output of just under 45kW, sufficient to meet the heating load profile of the building and keep under what was then anticipated as a 45kW domestic RHI limit.  Geowarmth have also recently installed another trio of Dimplex heat pumps in a Northumberland farmhouse so were knowledgeable in the principles of multiple heat pump integrations in domestic dwellings.

Geowarmth provided ground loop designs using both horizontal collectors and boreholes. The client's preference was boreholes because of the higher source temperatures usually available during times of peak winter load.  The geology of the site was investigated and was found to be dominated by glacial till and Redcar mudstone, both relatively poor conductors. Geowarmth took this in to account in their ground loop design modelling software and established that 14 boreholes were needed. In an earlier tender exercise other bidders had suggested far fewer boreholes. However Geowarmth's experience was being able to demonstrate the necessity of the required number of boreholes.

Non - Domestic Installer of the Year

Durham University Business School night 750 181

Geowarth won the Non - Domestic Installer of the Year award.  The National Heat Pump Awards reviewed a number of Geowarmth's commercial installations including a ground source scheme at Durham University Business School which was Geowarmth's 3rd project with the University.

Durham University has recently been ranked 5th in the UK and the Business School has been an established part of the University since 1965.  In September 2013 the construction of a refurbished and extended main Business School was completed. With several state-of-the-art lecture theatres, new breakout spaces and a contemporary dining area – alongside numerous sustainable features – it is a truly world-class facility. The £16m construction project was shortlisted in the 2014 Construction Excellence North East awards.

Geowarmth installed a Dimplex SI75TE heat pump, a twin coil 1000 litre buffer tank (with twin coils for boiler back up) connected to the heat pump and underfloor in a 4 pipe configuration, an RHI heat meter, 16 boreholes, fault and enable connections to Building Management System and a Modbus data card.  The heat pump is serving a heating system comprising 3 underfloor circuits and a kitchen heating coil.

Geowarmth's knowledge of the geology and mineworkings in the area was critical for the success of the project.  Whilst 125m deep boreholes had been planned because of limited space for drilling on site, under the Business School the Hutton coal seam could well be encountered at a depth of around 77m depth. This seam had a worked cross section of 229cm. It was necessary to have a contingency plan.  A second area for drilling was made available in case a series of shallower boreholes were required to avoid intersecting former mine workings and this proved to be necessary. Geowarmth's foresight was correct.

Post installation, Geowarmth has assisted the client's Energy Manager with their application for the Renewable Heat Incentive.

In-Situ Monitoring Award

Control panel with 2 two electrical consumption monitoring meters built in and 2 adjacent 750 181

2 x Nibe 40kW ground source heat pumps were retrofitted to replace 20 year old LPG boilers to provide heat for underfloor heating and a pre-heat for domestic hot water in the Visitor Centre at Fountains Abbey – a World Heritage site. The heat source comprised slinky ground loops, located 300m away.  Geowarmth's monitoring of this installation was shortlisted at the 2014 National Heat Pump Awards.

The National Trust have committed to use 20 per cent less energy, halve fossil fuel use and generate 50 per cent of their energy from renewable sources by 2020 and this project helps in all these respects.  The client also takes particular interest in the performance of renewable energy systems and requires comprehensive metering which Geowarmth provided as part of their installation.

Using 4 stages of power, up to 80kW of thermal output can be provided by the two Nibe heat pumps. They are connected to a buffer tank and from there to the underfloor heating system and to a plate heat exchanger which preheats the mains cold water that goes in to an existing domestic hot water cylinder. An RHI compliant heat meter is installed between the heat pump and the buffer tank. This measures the total KWh output from the heat pumps. Some heat pump makes and system configurations require separate metering of heat pump heating and hot water modes. However the system design at Fountains Abbey allows just one meter to record all the thermal output from the two heat pumps.

The heat pumps use 3 phase electricity and there are separate electrical connections from the control panel in the plant room to each heat pump. The heat pumps in turn provide power to 2 ground loop pumps and 2 load side pump built in to the heat pump. In addition there is a separate twin headed ground loop circulator on the other side of a ground loop low loss header to pump the glycol fluid 300m to the slinky array. 4 electricity meters record the power consumption of the two heat pumps and the twin heads of the main ground loop circulator. These meters are located within and adjacent to the control panel for ease of access and reading. Thus the total power consumption of the heat pumps and associated circulation pumps are fully metered and recorded.

Some accurate data measurements of ground conductivity were an early part of Geowarmth's work on this project. On a horizontal ground loop scheme of this scale accurate information on the heat extraction from the ground was crucial so a soil heat survey was undertaken at a number of sampling sites. To obtain our best estimate of bulk thermal conductivity Geowarmth used the geometric mean of the measurements with the lowest standard deviations. A well designed ground loop with higher source temperatures makes for a more energy efficient system.

 Heat Pump Awards 2014

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