Case study: RNLI Porthdinllaen

In 2014, Eco Friendly Installations installed a 6kW ground source heat pump at the newly built RNLI lifeboat station at Porthdinllaen. Three vertical boreholes were drilled to overcome the challenge of being on the shoreline and the system is successfully providing space heating to new crew facilities through an efficient underfloor heating system.

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Porthdinllaen is a small coastal fishing village situated on the northern coast of the Llŷn peninsula in North Wales. With its sheltered north-facing bay, Porthdinllaen was historically used as a harbour of refuge and became a busy fishing port in the nineteenth century. It is also home to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution’s (RNLI) Porthdinllaen Lifeboat Station.

In 2012, the old lifeboat which had been in service since 1987 was replaced by a new boat the ‘John D Spicer’. It was temporarily kept on a mooring whilst work to build a new boathouse was undertaken. Due to the size and scale of the new boat, a new lifeboat house and slipway was also constructed as part of an 18-month project which saw the improved crew facilities become operational in April 2014.

Gwynedd-based Eco Friendly Installations installed a ground source heat pump system, which included design of the boreholes, to provide space heating to the lifeboat station. The original boathouse heating system had run on oil. The system needed to cope with the building’s heat requirements and give a constant 15 degrees throughout the crew rooms and drying areas through underfloor heating. A Kensa 6kW single compressor was deemed suitable for the job.

The ground was a very hard Bath Salt stone, giving 35 Watts Per Metre (WPM), and there was restricted access to land area due to the position of the lifeboat station next to the shoreline. It was decided that boreholes would be the best ground array option and 150m depth would be sufficient in this ground. Eco Friendly Installations designed a drill plan of three vertical boreholes linked through a central point by a manifold that in turn linked into the 6kW Kensa Heat Pump in the plant room. The boreholes were drilled after the old lifeboat station was demolished and the heat pump was installed just over a year later, during the second phase, when the new structure was built on top.

Gareth Davies of Eco Friendly Installations said:

This was a really high profile job for us and both a challenging and interesting installation. Working so close to the shoreline is always tricky and we could only drill underneath the customer’s land boundary. The system is now running superbly and the RNLI has just registered the system on the Commercial Renewable Heat Incentive scheme (RHI) and will start being paid for the system soon.

Kensa is working on a number of similar projects for the RNLI to support an ongoing programme of investment and upgrades to their lifeboat stations.

Key Facts

  • 6kW Single Compact Heat Pump
  • £15,000 over 20 years with the Commercial RHI
  • Closed-loop boreholes
  • New-build single dwelling
  • Replacing oil boiler system