The Technology

Technology Comparisons

Making the right decision

See the benefits of ground source heat pumps when you compare a ground source heat pump to air source heat pumps, oil, LPG, or biomass boilers.

No two projects are the same. The most suitable option for any development is not always straightforward and will, inevitably, be influenced by the motivations of the purchaser.

For example, the requirements of a self builder differs vastly to that of a housing association, whose continuing obligation is to service the properties and offer lower income tenants the cheapest possible running costs – quite different to the motivations of a speculative housebuilder who may simply wish to select a product which economically satisfies regulatory issues.

Kensa can help you reach the right decision for your project – use this section to gain an initial insight into the key benefits and differences between ground source and other heating systems.

Why ground source heat pumps are a superior investment

You may also be considering the purchase of an air source heat pump.  Their lower upfront capital cost may seem appealing, but the lower RHI income and the higher running costs will often mean any upfront saving is quickly negated.  And the unobtrusive nature of a ground source heat pump installation is usually a significant attraction as is the superior durability and reliability that results from locating the heat pump within a weather-tight structure.

Multiple studies across Europe demonstrate that ground source heat pumps are typically around 20% more efficient than air source heat pumps. This is entirely understandable as the average ground temperature throughout the winter heating season is higher than the average air temperature which means the heat pump does not have to work as hard to upgrade the source heat into something useful for space heating and hot water.


This superior efficiency is only half the story. It is very likely that future electricity tariffs will feature split rates depending upon when the electricity is consumed.  Almost certainly, the lowest tariffs will be available for night-time operation when there are lesser demands. The challenge will be to find ways to shift a household load to these periods. An immediate option would be to re-charge the hot water cylinder through the night. A future option might be to store heat perhaps utilising phase change materials. Either way, an air source heat pump usually operates at its lowest efficiency through the night since the air temperature is usually significantly cooler at 2am than 2pm. Plus the noise of the circulation fan will not aid sleep.  Meanwhile, the prevailing air temperature does not impact the performance of a ground source heat pump since the ground arrays are buried at sufficient depth to be insulated from these variations.

Please speak with your Kensa Project Manager for further information.

Why consider a ground source heat pump?

In brief, a ground source heat pump can:

  • Provide  100% of heating and hot water requirements
  • Operate 365 days a year
  • Reduce running costs by as much as £500
  • Generate a generous income through the Renewable Heat Incentive – around £15,000
  • Minimise ownership costs
  • Last for 25 years, with a 100 year ground array lifetime

All of this, and with the added benefits of:

  • No planning permission required
  • Quiet operation
  • Safe and easy to operate
  • Simple to install
  • No risk of vandalism or theft
  • No noxious gasses or risk of combustion
Having a ground source heat pump means the property is much more energy efficient and less reliant on fossil fuels."

Alistair Mackintosh, Selfbuilder

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