When we moved to The New Forest in 2014, our first task was a complete refurbishment of the cottages. This involved a strip back to a bare frame and a ground up rebuild. With this level of refurbishment, it was the ideal opportunity to consider the impact of our new business on the environment.
Being off mains services, each cottage was heated by a dedicated oil-fired boiler. Each was supplied with it's own 1500l fuel oil tank. Very quickly, we decided that we needed a far better solution for heating and hot water which would remove our direct use of fossil fuels. As well as extensive insulation, we decided to install a Ground Source Heat Pump (GSHP) to provide heat for The Tack Room, Stable Cottage and The Hayloft, together with an Air Source Heat Pump (ASHP) for The Barn.
The installation of the ASHP was pretty simple. The GSHP was another story!
In the depths of winter, we embarked on some major excavations in the rear paddock to lay 800m of special pipework in four trenches, 1m below ground in the rear paddock. In the satellite image, taken shortly after burying the pipes, you can just make out the routing of the four loops of pipe, each 200m long!
At this depth, the ground remains at a fairly constant temperature of around 10 degrees. A salty brine solution slowly passes through this pipework, warming to ground temperature. This "warm" water passes in to the heat pump itself and is compressed to raise the temperature to around 60 degrees. In turn, this heats a tank of water for the underfloor heating and separate hot water cylinders for each cottage.
Where the oil boilers ran at an efficiency of around 90%, the heat pump runs at around 500%!! In other words, for every 1KW of electricity, the heat pump delivers around 5KW of heat!! And NO OIL!!
So feel free to turn the heating up a little and have a long, slow hot bath and shower, knowing you are not hurting the planet!