The Hydro and Wind Company Securing a clean energy future, profitably

Water Source Heat Pump Feasibility

Water source heat pump feasibility studies

Water source heat pump feasibility studies

Water-source heat pump systems, when designed and operated correctly, are relatively simple and are a highly efficient and low-emission way of heating a building. However, anything that uses natural ambient energy to heat a building is inevitably more complicated from an engineering perspective compared to a fossil-fuelled boiler, which has a much easier life because the clean fuel is simply delivered down a pipe. The fuel for a water-source heat pump is natural water and this often contains debris which if not managed carefully can block the system up. This water must be abstracted from the watercourse and conveyed to the heat pump which is normally located in or close to the building to be heated. The discharge water needs to be conveyed back to the watercourse and discharged without compromising (i.e. cooling down) the intake water.

The heat pump itself must be carefully ‘sized’ to make sure it is well-matched to the heat load of the building to be heated. For this to be done a heat load analysis on the building must be completed to accurately determine the space heating loads throughout the year. Also the heat emitters (radiators, underfloor heating etc.) in the building must be assessed to work out if they will work effectively with a heat pump system with flow temperatures of 30°C, and if they would not specify what upgrades would be needed. Once this is done the operational patterns from the building’s users must be understood (including cooling in summer if needed), then the heat pump can be sized and specified in detail.

Clearly all of this will require a site visit and building survey followed by a great deal of technical analysis, and for this we provide a standard water-source heat pump feasibility study service. The feasibility study includes:

Assessment Type Detail
Summary of the findings / recommendations Brief executive summary of report and recommendations
Resource data Watercourse flow analysis
Watercourse seasonal temperature profile
Seasonal air temperature profile
Site layout and levels
Cleanliness of the water source
Chemical composition of water source
Building / heat-load assessment Building heating (and cooling) demand survey / analysis
Review of current thermal energy use
Existing heating system review
Existing Heat emitter review (radiator, underfloor heating etc.)
Comments on current thermal efficiency and potential improvements
System specification Proposed system layout
Heat pump sizing and system specification
Energy production / consumption profiles
Control system specification
Integration with existing system
Details of Consenting requirements Regulatory consents
Planning consent
Building Regulations considerations
Finances Budget costs
Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)
Running costs
Comparison with existing / conventional heating system
Payback / Return on Investment calculations
Recommendations and next steps Detailed summary of all aspects of the report including recommendations for next steps

A site visit would be carried out as part of the feasibility study.

The price for the water-source heat pump feasibility study depends on the size of the property to be heated, but normally ranges from £1,500 to £4,000 for domestic properties and commercial properties up to 5,000m2 plus any travel costs. It normally takes three weeks to complete the feasibility study.

Water source heat pump consenting

Regulatory consents are required for your heat pumps

Regulatory consents are required for your heat pump

The main consent needed for a water-source heat pump is an Abstraction Licence in England and Wales, and a CAR Authorisation in Scotland. The regulators (EA in England, NRW in Wales and SEPA in Scotland) are generally supportive of water-source heat pump projects but they do have specific technical requirements in regard to volumes of water, temperature differentials and pollutant guidelines that must be met.

Planning consent is not normally required unless a new plant room would be built, or the water intake structure would be visible. Listed Buildings may require Listed Building Consent if any of the building fabric will be changed. As with any works in buildings, the Building Regulations must be adhered to.

The whole project must be compliant with the Renewable Heat Incentive to qualify for the ongoing revenue stream.

Renewables First has a great deal of experience in dealing with the various regulatory authorities to obtain consents and would take care of this aspect of the project on behalf of our clients.

Are you considering a water source heat pump project in the UK, Ireland or overseas?

Renewables First have considerable experience and full project capability, from initial feasibility study through to system design and installation.

The first step to develop a water source heat pump project is to conduct a full feasibility study.

Contact us about a feasibility study today!

Once complete, you will understand the site potential and be guided through the next steps to develop your project.