Ground Source Heat Pump

Ground Source Heat Pump

A year 8 student from Comberton Village College explains how a project to make heating the school more sustainable has been good for the environment and good for learning.

The Ground Source Heat Pump (GSHP) project is a big step forward taken by Comberton Village College (CVC) to make their heating more sustainable. Heating in buildings and industry creates around 32% of the UK’s total emissions, so it’s a massive problem to solve in making the planet alive and well for my generation and all those after. As a school, CVC is very conscious of the environment and the need for huge change to protect it as much as possible, with a thriving Green Group, environmental lessons each term, and having declared a climate emergency in November 2020 and taken many actions to lessen the school’s carbon footprint.

Since the industrial revolution, the world has been burning more and more fossil fuels which have then released carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and caused extreme weather, especially an increase of heat. At the same time, humans have been destroying places like rainforests, which soak in the carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, and killing many species. Mostly due to climate change and humans’ actions, up to 150 species go extinct every single day. To prevent the world overheating and weather becoming too hostile to possibly even support life, we need to cut back our carbon emissions and our impact on the environment now, before it is too late.

In a joint effort between CVC, the Cam Academy Trust, Cambridgeshire County Council and Bouygues UK, a low carbon heat network is being installed around the CVC site. It works using a ground source heat pump, which gets heat from ground loops from 60 boreholes. It then heats water to 65 degrees, which is then delivered around the site via a network of pipes to heat the college. The water is then re-heated and used again.

This is really good for the environment as it is a much more sustainable heating system than the main ones used – gas, coal, and electric. As it uses energy taken from the ground to heat the school through water, it has minimal emissions compared to the burning of fossil fuels for heating, which obviously has a massive carbon footprint.

I first heard about the Ground Source Heat Pump project in an email sent to all pupils and parents/carers detailing what it was and with a link to a video explaining it in more detail. We were also educated about it in form time. As a CVC pupil, I am overjoyed with the Ground Source Heat Pump project as it will make CVC more sustainable and have less of an impact on the planet. I feel strongly that all businesses should take inspiration from CVC in making their heating more sustainable – everyone has a duty to try to stop the worst effects of climate change. This is especially clear for schools, educating the very people who will be affected by everyone’s actions in aiding or preventing global warming.

The GSHP project is also incredibly useful as a tool for learning for all kinds of subjects, and it is planned to be incorporated into our curriculum in many ways. It opens up a whole world of possibilities – we can discover how it works in science, compare its environmental impact with other types of heating in geography, use the data from it in maths, take inspiration from its design in DT, and the list goes on! It is also of a lot of use in the school community as a starting point for talking about climate change and what we can do to help.

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