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Air source heat pumps keep hotel guests happy, warm, and intrigued

Posted by NicoleYouGen on 12 February 2013 at 9:02 am

An air source heat pump system has proven a positive alternative to LPG at Wirral’s award winning Mere Brook House Hotel. Mere Brook  is a converted Edwardian country house which offers high quality bed and breakfast and facilities. When they were renovating their premises, the owners teamed up with the renewable energy manufacturer Stiebel Eltron to make the building more energy efficient. 

Lorna Tyson, who owns the B&B with her husband Donald, said "because of our slightly rural location, we can't have mains gas here. The hotel used to run on LPG  and the prices have rocketed recently." Because they replaced the LPG with heat pumps in their cottage rooms, but not in their main hotel, Lorna can see a clear difference. She said "the electricity bill for running the heat pumps has been hardly anything and I was expecting it to be much more".

She added, "the capital cost is quite expensive, so you’re not doing it for the short term, you’re doing it for the long term".

Money wasn't the only appeal of the heat pump system. “Our philosophy has always been to be as environmentally friendly as possible," said Lorna. "We grow our own produce and source the rest of our food and drink locally. We always look to work with local suppliers, both to cut down on our carbon footprint and to support the region’s economy.” She sees demonstrating eco-credentials to guests as one of the benefits of the heat pumps. 

“I think guests are quite intrigued. They can see the pumps outside, and we have to use certain radiators, so in a way it’s a learning experience for our guests to see it all working”. Lorna used to be a teacher, and she she still has a passion for informing people. So naturally she likes to see guests fascinated by not just their heat pumps, but also their on-site farm and bee hive.

"I think a lot of why people don’t do it is fear that it doesn’t work, so I think that it will influence my guests, particularly my regular guests, because they’ll come at different times of the year and see that it is working."

Although it's only been 10 months since the heat pumps have been installed, Lorna said that they have been very happy, and that they haven't had any problems.

She saw working closely with an established German business as a big factor for success of the system. In a hotel, the comfort of guests must be paramount, and the heat pump had to be designed with that in mind. Working closely with plumbing and heating firm Par One, Stiebel Eltron UK created a rapid response air source heat pump system that would meet the fluctuating hot water and heating needs.

Mark McManus, managing director at Stiebel Eltron UK said “We originally looked at ground source heat pumps, but decided that air source heat pumps would be the best solution for Mere Brook’s heating and hot water.” They installed a WPL18E air source heat pump for the new cottage accommodation and a WPL33HT for the main house. These were combined with Stiebel Eltron’s SBS instantaneous hot water cylinder, which guards against the risk of Legionella bacteria growth.

Mr McManus said: “With this particular system, each guest can regulate the temperature in their room at any time and the hot water will not disrupt the space heating.”  Fast response fan coil radiators were also installed, using low water temperatures to further increase the efficiency of the system.

Lorna commented on the effectiveness of the system, which she said has definitely met the needs of the business. 

When asked what advice she had for other businesses considering heat pumps, Lorna said: "I think it’s just don’t be scared. But at the same time, I think you have to buy quality, you need to be sure it is going to work."

Thinking of installing a heat pump? What you should know: 

Read more about heat pumps from YouGen.

• Heat pumps can offer a highly efficient form of heating, but there are caveats. If your building is not well insulated, for example, it may not be right for you.  Find out whether a heat pump is suitable for your home.

• Be aware of the 10 things a good heat pump installer should ask, and

10 things to ask when choosing your air source heat pump installer

• Use YouGen's directory to find a heat pump installer in your area.  

If you have a question about anything in the above blog, please ask it in the comments section below.

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