Village Hall Heating upgrade
From the Chairman
When choosing a new heating system my preference was to select a greener renewable energy system, but with costs in mind all options were open and a number of solutions were evaluated. This included installing mains gas mains feed and fitting a conventional gas central heating system, solar PV, solar thermal, ground source heat pump, air source heat pump and biomass. Solar PV was not ideal due to the orientation of the roof and shading effect from surrounding trees (this also was an issue for solar thermal) as well as only providing daytime energy unless an expensive storage and battery charging system was to be used. It might have been possible to erect an array of panels within the ground but apart from the aesthetic objections of such an array the land available is subject to regular flooding and is an expensive solution to implement.
Mains gas was an equally expensive system to install requiring around £15,000 to provide the gas feed to the hall plus a further £10,000 for the boiler and radiators to be fitted.
Biomass was not considered suitable for our application due to the intermittent heating demands we would require and additional onsite fuel store and disposal of spent fuel would have been an additional ongoing maintenance task.
Most of the village hall heating requirement is during winter evenings and we need the flexibility to control the heating according to occupancy. Our conclusion was to select an air source heat pump system as efficiency ratings although slightly lower than ground source systems still provide significant heating benefit and fuel savings compared to the conventional electric radiator system that we have at present.
The fuel savings and efficiency for the system selected are helpful but the main advantage is the effective heating improvement. It also satisfies the primary objective of a renewable energy solution. The estimated cost for such a system is £10,500.
How does it work?
Air source heat pumps absorb heat from the outside air. This heat can then be used to heat radiators, underfloor heating systems, or warm air convectors and hot water.
An air source heat pump extracts heat from the outside air in the same way that a fridge extracts heat from its inside. It can get heat from the air even when the temperature is as low as -15° C. Heat pumps have some impact on the environment as they need electricity to run, but the heat they extract from the ground, air, or water is constantly being renewed naturally.
Grants have been obtained and the new system was successfully installed in December 2015.