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25 Feb 2011 10:02:58

Ecovision installs heat pump at Harrow

Harrow School, the world-famous boarding school established 400 years ago, has installed a state-of-the-art heat pump system to harness free energy from the ground. The hi-tech green technology is being used to heat a new building, Lyon's House (named after the school's founder, John Lyon), set on a hillside overlooking London.

The four-storey brick and tinted glass-clad building is the first new House to open at Harrow in over 100 years. It uses several sustainable technologies, including a rainwater-harvesting system and solar panels. The school approached renewable energy experts Ecovision Systems to design a system capable of heating the building to the required temperature for the boys who will be living and working there.

The ground source heat pump is based on 6.6km of pipe buried in trenches in fields on the hillside surrounding the building. The pipes carry a glycol solution as a heat exchange medium. This glycol solution circulating in the buried pipe absorbs heat from the surrounding earth which is then transferred via a high efficiency brazed plate heat exchanger to a refrigerant circuit in the heat pumps. This system allows the heat pumps to upgrade the low grade heat and create a higher temperature for heating the building. The heat is then used to warm the pupils' rooms, kitchens and communal areas in the new building via low temperature radiators and fan coil units.

The system is based on three ground source heat pumps, each delivering up to 37kW. Ecovision believes that the design of all of their installations is critical, particularly when working with schools. Ecovision's director Julian Sowerbutts adds "when working with a school you have to understand the responsibility involved in ensuring that the system operates efficiently. When you have children living in the building there is no room for error, they have to be kept warm when required, and at boarding schools the parents pay a high premium for their children's education so they expect the best facilities. We have worked with a large number of Schools and we ensure that our system designs are second to none. By having three heat pumps instead of one we reduce the risk of heating failure, ensure that the load is spread to enhance the life of the equipment and look to achieve the maximum benefits for the School from the reduced fuel costs and carbon emissions.

Ecovision is now working on projects the length and breadth of the country, from stately homes through to hospitals, schools and office developments.

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