Heat Pump Case Studies: Garath Archer, Durham

Property Type: 5 bedroom, detached new build concrete block and sand stone construction property in Durham

Product installed: IVT E11 ground source heat pump with 'Slinky' ground loop in 2 x 72 metre trenches

Distribution system: Underfloor Heating on ground floor with radiator system on first floor

Installation date: 2007

In 2007 Durham-based Garath Archer, the England rugby hero who earned 21 caps and played for clubs Newcastle Falcons and Bristol Shoguns, decided to build his own family home. As he wanted his home to be as environmentally-friendly as possible, Garath investigated the renewable energy options available including ground source heat pumps. Now some 5 years after installing a unit from Ice Energy, we spoke to Garath to see how living with heat pumps had benefitted him.
What made you choose heat pumps?
“With no standard mains gas in the area I could have considered either LPG or oil, both of which are very expensive and damaging to the environment. However, as I was very keen for my home to be built with the environment very much in mind, I decided to investigate heat pumps which I had also seen featured on the Grand Designs TV show.

What were your first impressions of heat pumps?
“Initially I thought they were probably too good to be true and would only work alongside the main heating system. I was also concerned that they could be too expensive to be a viable alternative. However, after speaking to Ice Energy I discovered that heat pumps are stand alone units which provide a 100% solution for all heating and hot water.
I also found that the heat pump came in at a price which made it not only a competitive product financially, but when we ran the projected running costs over a five to six year period it became more cost-effective than traditional fossil fuel technologies. For me, this made heat pumps a better option for the environment, a better for my pocket and basically meant the decision was a no-brainer.”
What made you choose Ice Energy?
“I chose Ice Energy because during my investigations into ground source heat pumps their name kept coming up. I made a telephone call to Ice and quickly came to the conclusion that they were very helpful, very knowledgeable and they were going to help me through the process very efficiently.”
How did you find the installation process?
“We buried the pipes which are known as a Ground Loop in two 72 metre trenches dug in the ground at a depth of 1 metre. These pipes collect the heat which is used by my heat pump and although there was obviously some disruption during the installation process, within a year the ground was completely back to normal and to look at it, you would never know the work had taken place.”

What has it been like living with heat pumps?
"The heat pump works efficiently, creating a small amount of heat consistently so that when the house reaches my required temperature it stays there 24/7 never getting cold. I find it great when I have to get up really early on the odd morning and the house is lovely and warm. It just starts the day off better.
We’ve not had any issues with the heat pump which 5 years on appears to be running as well today as it did when it was installed.”
Do you feel the heat pump has given you real value for money?
“Absolutely. I take great comfort from the fact that every time energy prices increase I am proportionally saving more and more money than had I taken an alternative route and installed a fossil fuel system.
The heat pump also works really well with my underfloor heating system, so much so that the heat from the ground floor works it’s way upstairs leaving the radiators on the first floor with very little to do.”
How would you sum up your experiences of heat pumps?
“I’ve found them to be reliable, cost-effective and extremely efficient. I am confident that whatever the weather my heat pump will deliver the heat and hot water that we require when we require it. However, if I'm honest the best thing about it is the comfort of a warm home 24 hours a day, a real luxury I wouldn't want to live without now.
As far as I’m concerned the decision to install a ground source heat pump was an excellent one and I would not hesitate to recommend heat pumps and Ice Energy to others in a similar situation.”

Solutions Used

  • IVT E11 Ground Source Heat Pump
  • Slinky Ground Loop system in 2 x 72 metre trenches to a depth of 1 metre

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