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Ground Source Heat Pumps for Self-Builds & Renovations

Ground source heat pumps are perfect for domestic projects such as new-builds, refurbishments, barn conversions and heating replacements. They deliver domestic heating and hot water all year round.

Self Build property with slinky pipes - copyright Kensa Heat Pumps

Why should you install a heat pump in your home?

A heat pump is ideal for self-builds because it’s a fit-and-forget technology that is low-carbon and simple to use.

Easily integrating with your preferred controls, heating distribution system or other renewable technology, a heat pump can be as smart or as simple as you like. Unlike fossil fuel heating systems, a Kensa heat pump doesn’t need servicing and requires minimal maintenance over its 20-year design life.

Low-cost & rewarding advantages

Kensa’s MCS-accredited heat pumps save homeowners money on heating bills, with highly efficient products, such as the Evo ground source heat pump, producing much more energy than they consume. The higher the heat pump’s efficiency, the more likely you are to receive maximum income from the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI).

With the Domestic RHI extending to March 2022, there’s never been a better time to invest in a ground source heat pump. The Domestic RHI’s proposed successor, the Clean Heat Grant, will potentially provide an upfront grant of up to £4,000 – much less than a seven-year RHI income of up to £28,000.

What are the benefits of having a heat pump?

Low heating bills

Ground source heat pumps can reduce heating bills by 40 – 50% compared to oil and LPG.

Tax-free RHI income

Owners of heat pumps qualify for a seven-year income under the Domestic RHI (single buildings) or a 20-year income under the Non-Domestic RHI (multiple buildings).

Low lifetime ownership costs

Experience little to no disruption over the heat pump’s 20-year design life, with low maintenance and no need for annual servicing.

Low carbon & zero pollution

Heat pumps are non-combustible. They reduce households’ CO² emissions to achieve a greener and cleaner future for years to come.

Ideal for new builds & replacements

Heat pumps are suitable for both new-builds and retrofit installations in existing homes, improving energy efficiency.

No hassle

Unlike air source heat pumps, ground source heat pumps don’t usually require planning permission. That’s one less thing to worry about during a build or renovation.

Made in Britain

Kensa manufactures some of the best heat pumps for homes on the market, with every system designed and built in the UK specifically for British properties.

Get a heat pump quote

Why do ground source heat pumps suit homeowners?

They prepare you for a future without gas

The UK government plans to ban gas in new-build homes from 2025. By using a ground source heat pump for domestic heating, you’re preparing for the eco-friendly building techniques in the zero-carbon future ahead. This is a vital step for reducing the UK’s carbon emissions.

They can replace old heating systems

Looking to replace an old oil boiler, direct electric heating, or move away from gas? From listed properties to barn conversions, a ground source heat pump is a great choice if you are replacing an old heating system. It’s a long-term, low-cost and energy-efficient heating alternative.

The best ground source heat pump installations in existing homes have insulation improvements, as this heightens the efficiency of a heat pump by roughly 2% for every 1°C reduction in heat load. Homes can also upgrade the heating distribution systems, for example, installing larger radiators for the heat pump’s low-flow temperature.

If you have exhausted the possible energy efficiency improvements for your home and it still has an Energy Performance Certificate of D or lower, do not despair. The vast majority of Kensa heat pumps in British properties are in homes much like yours, with thousands of happy customers just like Richard:

I would definitely advise other people thinking of installing a ground source heat pump to pair it with underfloor heating. It saves replacing radiators, and is more design friendly, removing pipework and freeing up space in rooms.

Read the retrofit story

They are easy to install inside the home

Installing a Kensa ground source heat pump is similar to installing a standard boiler. Our heat pump systems are specifically designed to be installed in British properties without the need for specialist training. Any competent builder or plumber is capable of installing one.

Much like the heat pump, it is critical that your installer is Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) accredited to ensure the system is eligible to receive Renewable Heat Incentive payments.

See top installation tips for self-builds

I love the technology – the idea of harnessing free heat from the ground is so simple and Kensa’s kit is top of the range. I often show visitors our heat pump unit and they are blown away by the efficiency and simplicity of our heating system. I’m really pleased with how it’s working.

Richard Waterstone, Homeowner

They save you more with smart technology

Smart metering has given rise to dynamic tariffs, where consumers are charged different prices for electricity at different times of the day. This means you can save even more on your heating bills with a ground source heat pump.

By using smart controls that learn your heating preferences and your property’s heat physics, it is possible to avoid the peak times of strain on the electricity grid. Your ground source heat pump can shift heat load to the times when the grid can best accommodate it – when there is lower carbon and lower-cost electricity.

For instance, your heat pump will turn on when there is extra capacity in the grid and turn off when the grid is under strain. Modelling has shown this could save households 25 – 40% on running costs.

How do air source & ground source compare when it comes to smart controls?

Ground source heat pumps are better at load shifting than air source heat pumps. This is because the ground remains a stable temperature 24/7, while air source heat pumps reduce in efficiency when the outside air temperature is colder, typically at night. The grid generally has most excess capacity overnight.

If you combine energy storage with your heat pump, it is possible to reduce peak demand even further.

See other smart ways to use your heat pump

How much does a heat pump cost for a house?

Certain variables will determine how much a heat pump costs for a house. These include:

Your home’s energy efficiency

The more efficient your home is, the lower your heat demands. The effectiveness of insulation and other energy efficiency measures will determine the heat pump you need, its capacity and how much your bills could cost.

Your choice of heat collector

The heat sources for boreholes, slinky pipes and pond mats all vary in size, price and efficiency.

The heat collector you have installed will depend on your home’s location. For example, you can use pond mats if your home is within 100m of a water source, or you might need boreholes if you have minimal garden space.

Underfloor heating or radiators

Underfloor heating is typically cheaper because the heat is spread across a larger surface area, but larger radiators can also be effective.

Use our heat pump pricing tool

What is the rough cost of installing a heat pump?

Example cost of a domestic heat pump in one home

This example is based on a single property connected to a 13kW Kensa Evo ground source heat pump with a slinky ground array:

  • Pay £14,000 for the supply and installation of the equipment and infrastructure.
  • Earn £24,000 of guaranteed quarterly income over 7 years through the Domestic RHI.
  • Save £16,200 in running costs over 7 years in compared to an equivalent LPG boiler.
Standard System Slinkies Evo

Example cost of domestic heat pumps in multiple buildings

If your property has multiple buildings or outhouses, individual ground source heat pumps inside each building can be linked to a Shared Ground Loop Array. This not only reduces groundwork costs but also qualifies you for the Non-Domestic RHI.

This example is based on four Evo heat pumps all connected by a Shared Ground Loop Array with slinky heat collectors:

  • Pay between £56,000 – £72,000 for the supply and installation of the equipment and infrastructure.
  • Earn between £170,000 – £200,000 income through the tax-free Non-Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive over 20 years.
  • Save between £170,000 – £220,000 over 20 years, compared to an LPG boiler.
See more example project costs
Micro District System on Slinkies LKPD

What are the best heat pumps for self-builds or renovations?

The Shoebox heat pump

Best heat pump for: Small, space-limited properties.

As a small and quiet heating system, the pioneering Shoebox is the best heat pump for homes and flats. The Shoebox is perfect if you’re seeking an affordable ground source heat pump for domestic hot water and heating in a property with limited space. It’s designed to be installed in a kitchen cabinet or an airing cupboard.

Shoebox heat pump efficiency: rated A+ in Energy-related Product (ErP) performance

Shoebox ground source heat pump 3kW

The Evo heat pump

Best heat pump for: Energy efficiency.

The Evo heat pump is the best heat pump for homes aspiring for optimal energy efficiency performance. Its intelligent system manager and touch screen controls make managing your heating clear and simple, whilst constantly analysing your heat pump’s performance.

Domestic heat pump efficiency: rated A++ in ErP performance

Evo ground source heat pump product banner

What is involved in a domestic heat pump project?

  1. Firstly, use Kensa’s free cost calculator to make sure a heat pump is right for your new-build or renovation. See if the benefits of the RHI, low emissions and savings suit you and your property.
  2. Submit your building or renovation plans to us. We can then take into account your property’s heat demand, look at typical schematics, your home’s efficiency, and the space and conditions around your home for groundworks.
  3. Decide if you want to install the heat pump yourself or have a Kensa-approved installer do it for you. The installation must be MCS approved if you want to secure RHI payments. You can either do this by using one of our recommended installers, finding a heat pump installer on the MCS database, or utilising our Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) Umbrella service if your own preferred installer is not yet MCS approved.
  4. Watch your plans become reality as the ground source heat collectors are fitted, and the heat pump is installed inside your home.
  5. And finally, feel the benefits of both eco-friendly heat and your RHI income for years to come. Both you and your installer can contact Kensa’s technical support team for any advice about your ground source heat pump before, during and after your installation.
Download our ultimate guide to self-build projects

I loved the service I received from Kensa; they gave me lots of information and constant support. They went above and beyond in terms of the customer service.

If I was to offer advice to anyone thinking of installing a ground source heat pump, I would say don’t hesitate, but definitely talk to Kensa – they are experts and know what they’re doing.

Mr Lester, Homeowner

Domestic heat pump case studies

River House in Cambridge

When Keith Clarke and his family moved into a spacious Grade II listed farmhouse in Cambridge, he replaced the old, inefficient gas boiler with a Kensa ground source heat pump. As River House had a high heat load, Kensa’s 24kW Twin Compact, our largest single-phase ground source heat pump, was chosen to meet the demand for heating and hot water.

See the retrofit case study

Eco house in East London

After designing and building his contemporary home, Jason wanted his heating and domestic hot water to be sustainable. A ground source heat pump was the answer.

Explore the financial and environmental advantages of a heat pump for Jason and his home.

Read Jason’s eco house story

Silver Spray in North Cornwall

With his home off the gas grid and right by the sea, Rory was looking for a renewable heating alternative. The trouble was, salty air could corrode a system like an air source heat pump. His best option was a ground source heat pump – which continues to heat his home and help the earth.

Read Rory’s case study

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