A couple based in Oxford have found a novel use for the River Thames, running just opposite their newly built home. Water from the free flowing river provides the raw material required for a water based heat pump which is being utilised to heat the water in their home. The principle is the same as a ground source heat pump, which extracts heat from the local environment, which in this case is the River Thames.
Combined with high insulation, and correctly glazed windows the demand for heating is less here than in the average home. The combination of the Thames heat pump and solar panels provides enough energy to warm both their home and hot water supply. Taking advantage of these new ecosaving energy sources could mean that we are getting ever closer to that cost-free shower first thing each morning!
So what’s the science behind it? Both air and water source heat pumps are enviromentally efficient ways of transforming natural heat sources to benefit our homes. Air heat pumps can be utilised for heating the home, whereas water based heat pumps can take advantage of the heat in a lake or from the ground. This technology can easily be explained when looking at your fridge at home. A small heat pump located on the back of the fridge works to move any heat from inside the fridge to the outside, thus cooling down the inside. For more information on heat pumps please visit the following link: http://www.ecoheatpumps.co.uk/heat_pumps.htm
Source: Grand Design Magazine – July 2009