Articles & Case Studies

Harrow School harnesses ground energy to heat new state-of-the-art green building

Posted: Monday 4th April 2011

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.

Main contractor on the development was Osborne, M&E Contractor Norstead, and the heat pump system was designed and installed by Ecovision.

The ground-source heat pump is based on 6.6km of pipe, supplied by leading UK distributor Pipe Center, buried in trenches in fields on the hillside surrounding the building. It carries glycol solution as a heat exchange medium.

Neil Otter, operations director of Ecovision, says: “The temperature of the ground is remarkably constant below the surface. In this area of the country, at a depth of 1.2m it remains at a steady 10deg C throughout the year, even in the depths of winter.”

For every 1KW of electrical power consumed, the heat pump delivers around 4kW of energy. This is used to heat pupils’ rooms, kitchens and communal areas in the new building via low temperature radiators and fan coil units.

Harnessing this free and sustainable source of energy cuts running costs by around 30 per cent a year compared with a conventional gas-powered heating system.

Kirsty Shanahan, communications manager for the school, said: “Harrow is steeped in tradition. However, we are also very forward-thinking as an institution, and keen to embrace the best new approaches and technology.

“It is entirely fitting that Lyon’s House, named after the school’s visionary founder, makes use of state-of-the-art technology for harnessing sustainable energy and safeguarding the environment. It is something I am sure he would completely approve of!”

Neil Otter said: “We are now working on projects the length and breadth of the country, from stately homes through hospitals and schools to office developments. In all of these, we rely on the excellent backup and support provided by Pipe Center. They are a key partner and, wherever we work in the UK, help us ensure we deliver for our clients.”

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