Haven Banks, Exeter

Ground Source Review Haven Banks Outdoor Education Centre - Pond Mats

Ground Source Review: Haven Banks Outdoor Education Centre.

Haven Banks is a purpose-built outdoor activity centre based on Exeter’s historic canal and quayside, uniquely heated by ground source heat pumps extracting heat energy from the river Exe.

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Ground Source Review: Haven Banks Outdoor Education Centre

Haven Banks is a £5.6million outdoor education & training facility located on Exeter’s historic canalside. It provides 25,000 young people a year with the chance to participate in courses on sailing, canoeing, kayaking, windsurfing, climbing, caving, orienteering, archery, raft building, team building and first aid.

Specially built in 2013, renewable energy was an essential part of the building’s design specification. Kensa Heat Pumps were able to provide a sustainable and efficient supply of heating and hot water by extracting heat energy from the river Exe using ground source heat pumps.

Being able to extract heat energy from the river made the system particularly efficient, as water is an excellent conductor and has a higher heat transfer rate than the ground. The river current provides a replenishing energy source and as there was no need to dig any trenches or boreholes, the installation cost was greatly reduced. The building has underfloor heating installed throughout which further increases the efficiency of the heat pump due to its low outlet temperature.

Due to the large size of the building and its very high heat load, Kensa supplied two 30kW Plantroom units to supply heating and hot water to the activity centre. The heat pumps are housed in a plantroom and controlled by a bespoke building management system linked to a gas boiler which only operates if the ground source heat pump system needs additional back up.

Kensa assembled ten specially designed ‘pond mats’ made up of 250m of coiled pipes mounted on stainless steel frames. Each pond mat was sailed over to the quayside next to the building where they were submerged in the river and connected to the centre’s heat pumps one by one. As the granite wall on the canalside is protected, the pipework and manifolds that connect the pond mats to the heat pumps are housed in a custom built wooden shelter, therefore, avoiding any drilling through or under the wall.

Exeter-based renewable company SunGift Solar were responsible for the installation which took around 7 days.

Jamie Burnham from SunGift Solar said:

This was a particularly exciting project for us as we were harnessing power from one of our most affluent local resources – the River Exe. We’ve worked with Kensa many times before. Overall the system was simple to install and very similar to the domestic kits we are familiar with, however it was a bit tricky trying to manipulate coils of pipe from a floating pontoon on a windy day in January!

He continues:

Kensa provided us with lots of great advice prior to the installation and everything worked out as planned. The Kensa kit has delivered well, as always, and we continue to use them as our preferred ground source heat pump supplier.

Please note, the RHI scheme has now closed – please visit this page to explore other funding).

Key Facts

  • Purpose-built new outdoor education centre
  • Two 30KW Plantrooms providing heating and hot water
  • Ten pond mats under pontoon in harbour
  • £1600 per year running cost
  • RHI income £7617 est. (this scheme has now closed)
  • Budget £32k