Ground Source Heat Pumps

Off-grid Barn Conversion benefits from energy efficient Ground Source Heating

Near Maidstone, Kent
Jo & Tim Turnbull
  • Thermia Solid Eco 22kW GSHP
  • 4x 250m horizontal ground loop
  • 500 litre buffer vessel
  • 500 litre thermal store

A barn conversion located off-grid near Maidstone, Kent is benefitting from an energy efficient ground source heating from Solaris Energy.

The four-bedroom barn conversion in Chart Sutton was originally built in 1870. Within the past decade was converted into a commercial premise by Hurstway Limited. When Jo and Tim Turnbull purchased the property with the view to convert it again in to a home, they approached architect Lee Evans and decided to use Hurstway again on the project.

At the time of the Turnbull’s purchase, the barn was off-grid with both the architect and builders suggesting the installation a gas or oil-based system, but it was Jo who wanted a system which would be environmentally friendly but also self-sufficient and hassle free, when it came to heating her home.

Jo explains: “With the developing science behind using natural resources and renewables becoming more accessible, it was a no brainer to install environmentally friendly engineering to heat the property during our barn conversion. After some research, we chose a ground source heat pump as we had the land to lay the pipework.”

Solaris Energy installed a three phase Thermia Solid Eco 22kW Ground Source Heat Pump. The new system, housed in a dedicated plantroom in the basement, provides all the heating and hot water, harvesting heat from a 1000 metre ground array laid one metre underground in the garden. A wild meadow has since been planted over the ground array and thrives thanks to the low density and depth of the pipes.

The underfloor heating throughout the home is fully zoned to ensure rooms are maintained at the Turnbull’s preferred temperatures. The Thermia system is also connected to the internet which enables heating to be remotely controlled and monitored by Solaris Energy and the homeowners.

Jo Turnbull sums up: “Using the system is effortless as we have downloaded an app which allows us to adjust temperatures and timings by area and rooms. We are not wasting energy in the areas that don’t need to be heated and we are toasty and warm in the areas that we are using all the time. The app also controls the hot water. Solaris Energy pay an annual visit to ensure it is running to its optimum level."

“Overall, we are extremely satisfied customers. Dan at Solaris Energy has a genuine passion for renewable energy. He was able to come up with a solution at short notice and worked well with the other contractors onsite. Our Ground Source Heat Pump was installed within the budget and time frame given and we are delighted with the end result. We spent our first winter in our new home, in a warm barn with constant hot water.”

The installation is benefitting from the government’s Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme, a government financial incentive which rewards people tax free and index linked for opting for renewable heating.

Jo added: “The Domestic RHI application was robust, but straightforward. Once the application was approved, regular termly payments are made. There is an annual questionnaire to ensure that one is still eligible for the pay outs"

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