The Groundsman

September 2012

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36 FEATURE the Groundsman September 2012 Pumping up the energy savings! We report how a ground source heat pump is reducing a village cricket club's energy bills Sited 12 miles north of Hexham in Northumberland, Wark on Tyne is an ancient settlement the name of which (appropriately) means 'earthworks'. It is very much a rural location and the local cricket club – Wark Cricket Club – plays a significant role in village life, more so since the resident adult football team had to discontinue operations. However, with a population of around 800 and without the casual visitor numbers often enjoyed by urban clubs, Wark CC naturally faces challenges in maintaining its financial stability and a sustainable future. With rising utility bills forcing the consideration of outgoings, coupled with a sense of responsibility towards the environment, the club's management committee started to look at ways to develop a long-term solution to both issues. It can often be the case that the two are linked: reducing natural resource consumption and making less of an impact on the environment may see the reward of having to spend less on day-to- day overheads. Consider how operational adjustments such as recycling may reduce the cost of waste removal, how rainwater harvesting lessens mains supply dependency and how a more efficient energy strategy can cut the costs of heating. It was this latter opportunity that the club focused its attention on. The clubhouse had been rewired a few years previously, and this offered a stable infrastructure for possible solutions. The existing heating was based on Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), relatively common in more rural areas but increasingly expensive and a source of fuel needing regular replenishment. The club was fortunate in being able to call on expert assistance in the form of Philip Wanless, a Wark CC member who, when not engaged in club duties, provides environmental advice as an employee of the Cumbria Rural Enterprise Agency. Of the various options available to a more sustainable energy policy, Photovoltaic (solar) panels on the roof tend to be most commonly thought of. For Wark, however, these were not going to be a feasible option because the roof is not orientated in the most effective direction and with a club that can be unmanned for any length of time, there was a security aspect to consider. Philip identified that a ground source heat pump (GSHP) would be a more suitable scheme and would assist towards both reducing club bills and lowering fossil fuel use. The GSHP works on the basis that the earth retains warmth and, by utilising pipework in the ground to send out a refrigerant and changing its state from liquid to hot gas and back to cold liquid again, a cycle is established that allows for harvesting of the hottest stage for the heating of water and radiators. It is, as one manufacturer describes, like a fridge in reverse. Consequently, an electricity supply is needed for it to operate but the expense of this is compensated for by the reduction in the previous means of heat generation. Five trenches were dug out in the car park to host the pipework. This was a relatively sandy soil, which is both quicker to warm and easier to excavate. (The cricket outfield could also be used for such an installation as the final surface shows no obvious signs of disruption.) The pipes begin and return in a small room to the side of the clubhouse, where the pump and control equipment is located. The initial heat pump provides a delivery temperature of 45 degC. An additional smaller pump raises the temperature to above 65 deg to eradicate any possibility of concerns such as Legionnaires disease. The entire installation took just a week, including digging the trenches.

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