Case Study: Wanstead, Eco Home

In 2015 Jason Harris, director of East London-based architectural practice, T-Space, designed and built an ultra-modern, eco-friendly home. He wanted the 550m² house to be as self-sufficient as possible and was keen to install a renewable heating system rather than using the gas network.

He approached Kensa partner installer Ground Sun who suggested that a ground source heat pump would provide a sustainable and efficient source of heating and hot water. The ground source heat pump installation would also be eligible for the Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI).

Ground Sun specified a 20kW Kensa Twin Compact ground source heat pump. Brian Connell, Director of Ground Sun said: “Kensa manufactures the highest output single phase ground source heat pumps on the market, which is really useful for large domestic jobs such as this one. Also, Ground Sun enjoys a good working relationship with Kensa and appreciate the support offered during the installation process.”

The heat pump was installed in a basement plant room. Smart energy meters complement the system and controls are kept to a minimum, consisting of a time clock and just four thermostat zones. It was felt preferable that the heat pump be allowed to run for longer periods at a lower level to achieve optimal efficiency, instead of cycling on and off with the demands of multiple controls. The fine tuning and long term balancing for each room is done by hand at the manifold.

Jason Harris said: “This project centred more on achieving the optimal outcome than a fast completion.”

As the house is located in an urban part of East London land area was limited, and so it was determined that boreholes would be the most effective form of ground array. However, as the site was accessible only via a very narrow lane, impassable by standard drilling rigs, Ground Sun utilised a radial drilling rig which could comfortably cope with the restricted access.

The radial rig is a three tonne drilling rig and has the added advantage that the hydraulic/engine section can be separated from the drilling mat and sited away from the drilling operation thereby keeping noise and disruption away from neighbours. The innovative radial drilling method is adapted from techniques used to create utility networks for powerlines and gas mains.

A main drill chamber acted as an access point from which separate boreholes were drilled. By drilling out at 65° and 45° angles, eight 50m long radial boreholes were able to be installed on site. This reduced the amount of excavation that was required and meant that the installation caused a minimum amount of disruption.

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