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Air Source Heat Pumps
Air source heat pumps are used to extract heat from the air to provide space and water heating within the dwelling. Heat pumps take in heat at a certain temperature and release it at a higher temperature, using the same refrigeration process as a domestic refrigerator. The process allows the installation to continue functioning even at lower external winter temperatures. Air source heat pumps predominantly are manufactured to produce lower temperature heating, however, some manufactures have produced an air source heat pump which can achieve higher heating temperatures which match your conventional gas or oil fired central heating system. It is therefore important to design the air source heat pump taking into consideration the existing heating system parameters.
Air source heat pumps look much like air conditioning external condensing units and can be located on flat roofs or on walls at low level.
The typical life spans of air source heat pumps are between 15-20 years providing they are serviced and maintained.
Ground Source Heat Pumps
Ground Source Heat Pumps (GSHP) are used to extract heat from the ground to provide space and water heating. Heat pumps take in heat at a low ground temperature and compress and extract at a higher temperature, using the same process as a refrigerator. As the ground stays at a fairly constant temperature throughout the year heat pumps can use the ground as the source of heat.
The ground pipe system can be horizontal or vertical. For horizontal systems, a coiled pipe network (also referred to as a ‘slinky’) is buried at around two metres depth below ground level, thus requiring a large area of open space, depending on the size of the system. An alternative arrangement is to lay the slinky in the bed of a lake or water source.
For vertical systems, the pipes are placed in holes bored straight into the ground to a depth of 80 to 150 metres, depending on ground conditions and size of system. Vertical systems thus require very little ground space but do require access for the drilling rig.
The typical life spans of ground source heat pumps are between 15-20 years providing they are serviced and maintained.
Photovoltaic panels utilise energy in the form of rays of light from the sun and are therefore required to be mounted on either a non-shaded roof, structure or façade, to ensure energy output is maximised.
Photovoltaic systems convert energy from the sun into electricity through semi-conductor cells. Systems consist of semi-conductor cells connected together and mounted into modules. Modules are connected to an inverter to turn their direct current (DC) output into alternating current (AC) electricity for use in buildings. Photovoltaics supply electricity to the building they are attached to or to any other load connected to the electricity grid.
Solar water heating systems use the energy from the sun to heat water, most commonly in the UK for hot water needs. The systems use a heat collector, generally mounted on the roof in which a fluid is heated by the sun. This fluid is used to heat up water that is stored in either a separate hot water cylinder or a twin coil hot water cylinder inside the building. Ideally the collectors should be mounted on a south-facing roof, although south-east / south-west will also function successfully, at an elevation of between 10 and 60°.
There are two types of collectors used for solar water heating applications – flat plate collectors and evacuated tube collectors. The flat plate collector is the predominant type used in domestic systems as they tend to be cheaper. Evacuated tube collectors are generally more expensive due to a more complex manufacturing process (to achieve the vacuum) but manufacturers generally claim better winter performance.