Understanding the renewable credentials of Surface Water Source Heat Pumps

Understanding the renewable credentials of Surface Water Source Heat Pumps

Surface Water Source Heat Pumps (SWSHP) have a historically low profile. Builders, contractors and developers on the whole seem to know very little about them, nor the benefits that they pose for buildings. As a consequence, SWSHP’s are widely underused compared to air and ground source heat pumps, especially in the UK.

The Chartered Institution of Building Service Engineers (CIBSE) is looking to raise the profile of SWSHP’s. They have recently published their Surface Water Source Heat Pumps Code of Practice for the UK, providing those in the commercial building industry with a comprehensive guide on the renewable energy source. The document, which covers everything from the technology’s feasibility to its installation, has been created in the hope that builders and developers will realise the energy source’s potential and install it to heat their buildings. This will consequently promote sustainability and help the UK cut its carbon emissions.

Analysing current carbon emissions, it seems unlikely that the UK will hit its 2020 targets. However, if builders and contractors effectively utilise renewable energy sources such as SWSHP’s, then they could potentially hit the UK 2025 target – to reduce carbon emissions by 50% compared to the levels recorded in 1990.

Heating should be a key concern for builders. Heating accounts for a large proportion of the energy used by buildings, which represents 37% of the UK’s total carbon emissions. Making the right decision when it comes to new builds or retrofitting is crucial for builders if they wish to construct spaces which are energy efficient and cost-effective.

SWSHP systems extract water from its original source, whether that be a sea, river, lake or estuary and filters it, before transferring it to where it is needed. As an alternative energy source, SWSHP’s can mitigate the threat of price rises in the fossil fuel market and attract substantial government grants. However, this renewable energy source isn’t appropriate for every commercial building. It works best in newer buildings that are well-insulated, because SWSHP’s heat water to a lower flow temperature than traditional boilers.

To enhance the efficiency in buildings even further, SWSHP’s should also be connected to energy efficient radiators – something which developers and contractors should consider. The low-flow temperature associated with heat pumps has previously meant that they are only suitable with under floor heating due to its large surface area – necessary for effective heat distribution. However, with Dynamic Boost Effect (DBE) technology, SWSHP’s can work with smaller, more compact radiators which are more suited to commercial environments. This revolutionary DBE technology has the ability to boost heat output by as much as 250%.

Builders and contractors must wise up and understand the potential that investing in SWSHP and energy efficient radiators has. It can not only lower emissions and make buildings more environmentally sustainable, but investing in this energy source will also benefit the commercial building owner financially. The installation of SWSHP’s often equal government grants; increasing the affordability of energy. A room is also able to warm up quicker using energy-efficient radiators, reducing energy consumption.

Ultimately, through CIBSE creating this Code of Practice, they have created a conversation around sustainable heating, and are actively promoting the use of environmentally friendly technology in UK buildings.