Ground source heat pump at Down to Earth, nr Swansea

Down to Earth round house

Down to Earth Project is an award-winning social enterprise in Cilibion, near Llanrhidian, with more than ten years of experience in supporting local people to bring about positive change in their lives through meaningful outdoor activity. One of the project’s aims is to educate and improve understanding of sustainability among some of the most vulnerable people in South Wales.

The problem

A nice problem! Down to Earth and their project participants were building brand new community training facilities, including a magnificent round house (pictured), built only from Welsh timber and blending traditional and contemporary building methods, including straw bale walls and sheep’s wool-insulated floors. Down to Earth turned to WDS Green Energy for a solution for their heating and hot water to match the sustainable ambitions of the project.

The solution

WDS designed, supplied and installed an 11kW Dimplex SIH 11 ME ground source heat pump to provide heating and hot water for the round house. The efficiency of a ground source heat pump, which generates 3 to 4 times as much heat energy as it uses in electricity, made it the ideal sustainable solution. As Down to Earth were also installing a solar PV array, WDS specified and installed a dual coil hot water cylinder and Immersun Solar controller to allow for excess energy from the solar PV array to be used for hot water heating. Connecting the two renewable systems in this way helps to maximise the efficiency, savings and returns by allowing Down to Earth to self-consume as much of the renewable energy they produce as possible.

The benefits

The highly efficient ground source heat pump system ensures that visitors and trainees at Down to Earth are kept warm whatever the weather. As well as the sustainable credentials of the system – its highly efficient heat pump and Immersun Solar controller diverting excess solar energy to heat the water – the system also benefits from the non-domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), which provides quarterly payments to the project for 20 years for every unit of renewable heat energy used.

In December 2017 the building project was awarded Cynnal Cymru’s Sustainable Venue 2017 award,