Flood­ing gave rise to en­ergy gen­er­at­ing sys­tem

A flood wrecked their home, but the own­ers of this his­toric prop­erty have fought back and har­nessed the river to cre­ate en­ergy. Sharon Dale re­ports.

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY -

WHEN Bedale beck burst its banks and flooded their muchloved home, Gra­ham Se­nior and his fam­ily were dev­as­tated.

They were forced to move out while the dam­age to their 18th cen­tury con­verted wa­ter mill in Crake­hall, was as­sessed and re­paired. Yet out of the loss, frus­tra­tion and anger, came a plan to turn a neg­a­tive sit­u­a­tion into a pos­i­tive one.

The Se­niors de­cided to harness the power of the river to cre­ate green en­ergy, while putting in a de­fence sys­tem to pro­tect the prop­erty from fu­ture floods.

“It’s the first time the house has flooded in liv­ing mem­ory and it did have a ma­jor ef­fect on us. We had to move out for nine months, but the ren­o­va­tion work gave us a chance to look at in­stalling a re­new­able source of en­ergy,” says Gra­ham, who opted for an in­no­va­tive wa­ter source heat pump sys­tem that has now re­placed the oil-fired boiler.

The new sys­tem runs the heat­ing and sup­plies all of the hot wa­ter for the six-bed­room home that dates back to 1740.

“I had done lots of re­search on re­new­able en­ergy as we were spend­ing over £5,000 per year on oil, and that fig­ure was ris­ing ev­ery year, says Gra­ham.

“I looked at biomass boil­ers and ground source heat, which were about £40,000 to in­stall. The wa­ter source heat pump was less ex­pen­sive and al­lowed us to use the river, which is some­thing I wanted to do.”

The cost of in­stal­la­tion was around £25,000 and the pump runs on elec­tric­ity, which is fore­cast to cost £1,500 a year.

How­ever, the sys­tem should also qual­ify for the gov­ern­ment’s gen­er­ous re­new­able heat in­cen­tive pay­ments, which are set to launch in spring. So the in­stal­la­tion costs should be re­couped in three to four years, and as the RHI runs for seven years, fu­ture pay­ments will be a bonus.

“We didn’t do it for the RHI pay­ments. We would’ve done it any­way as it still makes fi­nan­cial sense when you com­pare it to oil,” says Gra­ham.

York­shire com­pa­nies, AV Com­mer­cial and Dan­foss, de­signed and fit­ted the sys­tem, which re­quired an ab­strac­tion li­cence from the En­vi­ron­ment Agency. This is es­sen­tial for any­one us­ing more than 20m3 from a nat­u­ral wa­ter source.

As the wa­ter is ex­tracted and put it back into the river with no risk of con­tam­i­na­tion, ob­tain­ing per­mis­sion wasn’t a prob­lem.

AV Com­mer­cial in­stalled two DHP-L 12 kW ground source heat pumps fit­ted in an open loop method to ex­tract wa­ter from the beck, which at the clos­est point is 12 feet away from the prop­erty.

The sys­tem draws wa­ter into a well and then pumps it into a plant room, housed in an out­build­ing 150 feet from the river. The wa­ter en­ters a 1,100 litre set­tling tank with re­verse wash­able fil­ter and two heat ex­chang­ers that take warmth from the wa­ter. In­side the house, there is a Dan­foss 400 litre hot wa­ter cylin­der and a 200 litre buf­fer tank.

Michael Valovin, of AV Com­mer­cial, says: “Wa­ter source heat pumps are be­com­ing in­creas­ing pop­u­lar. The wa­ter in the beck has a rel­a­tively high tem­per­a­ture of around nine de­grees centi­grade in sum­mer, down to five de­grees in win­ter, which means that it op­ti­mises the run­ning of the heat pump. Us­ing a wa­ter source sys­tem also meant there was much less need for ground works, which made it more cost ef­fec­tive and quicker to in­stall. We are con­fi­dent that the Se­nior fam­ily will make ma­jor sav­ings on their heat­ing over the next few years.”

Chris Dale, of Dan­foss Heat Pumps, adds: “It made per­fect sense for the fam­ily to take ad­van­tage of nat­u­ral re­sources near the prop­erty. Wa­ter source heat pumps pro­vide ex­cep­tional en­ergy sav­ings and a very nat­u­ral and sus­tain­able way to pro­vide heat­ing and hot wa­ter for a prop­erty.”

Open loop wa­ter source heat pumps are com­mon in Scan­di­navia and other North­ern Euro­pean coun­tries, where there are many prop­er­ties lo­cated close to wa­ter.

“It’s hard to imag­ine tak­ing heat from a river but there is a la­tent heat. It’s the air above the wa­ter that makes it feel cold ap­par­ently,” says Gra­ham, who is pleased with the sys­tem so far.

“It’s rel­a­tively sim­ple. A pipe takes wa­ter from the river into the heat pump sys­tem, where it is heated up and pumped round the house. It’s then cooled and put back into the river.

“We’ve only been us­ing it since Novem­ber but the signs are good. We should save money on en­ergy bills and the house is much more pleas­ant to live in as it’s heated to a con­stant, am­bi­ent tem­per­a­ture.

“I like to think that this is the beck giv­ing some­thing back to us and mak­ing amends for what hap­pened in 2012.”

For wa­ter source heat pumo in­stal­la­tions within the North of Eng­land, con­tact AV Com­mer­cial via the web­site, www.ag-en­ergy. co.uk or tel: 0113 217 2973.

More ad­vice can be found via Dan­foss at www.heat­pumps. dan­foss.co.uk or by call­ing 0114 2703900.

For more in­for­ma­tion on En­ergy gen­er­at­ing and sav­ing idea, visit the En­ergy Sav­ing Trust, a so­cial en­ter­prise that of­fers im­par­tial ad­vice to home­own­ers, www.en­er­gysav­ingtrust.org.uk.

EMO­TIONAL FAREWELL: This home, part of which was once a fac­tory, has been ren­o­vated and re­vamped un­til it is pic­ture-per­fect. The Art Deco fea­tures from the 1920s con­trast beau­ti­fully with new, mod­ern el­e­ments. The prop­erty has four large bed­rooms and three bath­rooms.

CUR­RENT AF­FAIRS: Gra­ham Se­nior’s home is heated us­ing a wa­ter source heat pump. They de­cided to harness the power of Bedale beck.

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