Farm turns carbon positive with own green electricity

Renewable heating complements green electricity on the Cambridgeshire farm
Renewable heating complements green electricity on the Cambridgeshire farm

A Cambridgeshire farmer is reaping the benefits of renewable heating with a ground source heat pump system powered by his own green electricity.

The ground source heat pump was installed on Hugh Whittome's farmhouse, in Huntingdon.

The property was previously heated by an oil-fired boiler, which was timed to go on and off in the morning and evening, but it was cold during the day.

Built in 1860s with single skin walls and Georgian sash windows, the farmhouse has an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of E making it a challenge to keep warm.

At the beginning of his renewable journey, Hugh said he decided to make the farm carbon neutral so he installed a wind turbine in 2010.

“This enable us to generate our own electricity and then Feed in Tariffs were introduced which provided an added bonus to sell back the power we didn’t use.

“With our electricity carbon neutral, the farmhouse heating and hot water was the obvious next step.

“We wanted to replace the boiler with a system we could run using our own green electricity.

“Having researched alternatives, a ground source heat pump was the ideal option – particularly as the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) was available and would enable us to recoup our investment in a short period of time.”

Renewable heating experts Finn Geotherm, who are based in Norfolk, specified and installed a Lämpöässä Emi 28 ground source heat pump with 700 litre thermal store.

The 1400 metre ground loop array was installed in a field next to the house and an existing outbuilding used as a plant room.

While the farmhouse has a low EPC rating, the heat pump works efficiently to keep its owners warm by utilising the thermal mass of the property.

Hugh said that it is a 'common myth' that a ground source heat pump can only be used with underfloor heating, but his installation proved otherwise.

“We have radiators throughout and the house has never been warmer, day and night,” he explained.

“The heat pump has taken away the hassle of heating and hot water – we just leave it to run and don’t have to order oil deliveries.

“I am proud our farm is now carbon positive and the heat pump, which is a non-combustion based system, runs entirely on our green electricity.”