Digging deep at Wimpole to go greener

Our Ground Source heat pump was the first phase of our renewable energy project, providing greener heating in the restaurant and mansion and allowing us to remove our oil fired boiler.

Why have we installed a ground source heat pump at Wimpole?

Between them, Wimpole Hall and the Old Rectory Restaurant consumed around 35,000 litres of oil each year.  Switching to a ground source heat pump system removed the risk of an environmentally damaging oil leak and reduced the cost of buying all the oil, we will also reduce our carbon emissions.

The system uses around one third of the energy used by the oil boilers, reduces carbon emissions by 47 tonnes per year and will save over £8,000 a year in fuel costs. The low temperature background heat provided by heat pumps is better for sensitive collections at our properties like Wimpole rather than the fluctuating high temperature heat from a fossil fuel boiler.

" This project is helping us to show that even in the most historically significant locations, it is possible to move away from fossil fuels and switch to low carbon renewable energy sources without negatively impacting on the places we are caring for. "
- Dee Nunn, Project Manager

How does a heat pump work?

A heat pump is a device that uses a small amount of energy, in the form of electricity, to move heat from one location (the ground, the air or water) to another (e.g. a building). At Wimpole, the pipework is installed in boreholes in the ground (up to 150m deep). The heat is then amplified with compressors and passed through something called a heat exchanger - basically a fridge in reverse. From there it’s taken to an underfloor or radiator heating system.

Drilling boreholes in the car park
Drilling boreholes in the car park
Drilling boreholes in the car park

What does it look like?

Now it is installed, you can only see three manhole covers in the ground, which will be in the restored parkland once the car park is removed.  These will allow access to the chambers where the pipework is joined together, other than that you can see little evidence of the system.

The plant rooms have slightly different kit in them compared to the oil fired system but are maintained as any system would be with weekly, monthly and annual checks.

When was the ground source heat pump installed?

The heat pumps were installed in 2018 and are now heating our historic mansion and the Old Rectory Restaurant.