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Ground source heat pumps explained

posted 13 Feb 2010, 23:11 by Toby Roscoe   [ updated 13 Feb 2010, 23:13 ]

Ground source heat pumps use 25%–50% less electricity than conventional electric heating or cooling systems, because they extract low temperature heat from below ground level, from a large liquid filled pipe system installed approximately 1m deep. They use a electo-mechanical system similar to those used by a fridge or freezer to convert the low temperature heat from the ground into usable heat for your home or office. 

A ground source system runs at a lower temperature than conventional heating systems, for this reason oversized radiators or underfloor heating should be used. This allows sufficient surface area for the transfer of heat(rate of heat transfer is governed by the temperature differential between the hot and the cold objects, resistance to heat flow - such as insulation, and the surface area through which the heat is transmitted). 

As with other types of energy saving technology, upfront costs are often seen as a disincentive, but there are now excellent interest-free loans and Government grants available towards the cost of equipment and installation due to the energy and greenhouse gas emissions saving benefits of these systems. 


Ground source heat pumps reduce energy consumption and corresponding greenhouse gas emissions by up to 44% compared to air-source heat pumps and up to 72% compared to electric resistance heating. 

Article by Toby Roscoe

For information about UK grants contact us or check out these links:


General enquiries: Energy Saving Trust

Private buildings: Low Carbon Buildings Phase One

Public buildings: Low Carbon Buildings Phase Two 


If you have grant scheme details for your country, state, province or territory please email us, we’d love to be able to make the information accessible to everyone by posting them here.



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