How do heat pumps work?
Ground heat pumps harness heat from the sun which has become stored in the ground. Heat pumps help to control the temperature of your home, not only can they warm it by pumping the heat from the ground into your home; they can also cool your home by transferring heat back to the ground. They can also provide your home with hot water. As well as ground source, there is also an air source variety of pump, which work on the same basic principles but harness the heat from the air instead of the ground. However, as they tend to provide heat at lower temperatures and therefore you will generally have to leave them on for longer time periods. For instance in the winter usually you can leave them on constantly. In a way this offers more consistent heating, instead of blasting high temperatures for a couple hours and then slowing growing colder again like in some traditional heating systems.
What are the benefits?
Installing a heat pump in your home has many advantages, for instance it is likely to save you money on your heating bills specifically if you are replacing a traditional electric heating system. It also has added monetary bonus of possible income from the government's renewable heat incentive. Using this type of renewable energy resource is also guaranteed to reduce your carbon emission, although this does depend on the type of heating system you were using before. It is most probable installing heat pump will help to make your home more environmentally friendly as it relies on a renewable energy source. In a way it looks a shame not to take advantage of an energy source so readily available.
Examples of local projects incorporating heat pumps in Suffolk
Various community projects have benefited from installing heat pumps in Suffolk. For example the Suffolk wildlife trust installed a large ground pump system for an extension to their offices. One year on from the installation, they conducted an energy audit and found they had very much benefited. Even though their offices were now 40% larger they were using 25% less electricity than before. Furthermore it was estimated they were saving £ 500 since the larger offices. Another local project that is utilizing the energy saving technology is Suffolk One sixth form college, build relatively recently (it opened in September 2010) it was designed with a renewable energy heating system.