Initial geological considerations before installing ground source heat pump systems

Busby, Jon; Lewis, Melinda; Reeves, Helen; Lawley, Russell. 2009 Initial geological considerations before installing ground source heat pump systems. Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology, 42 (3). 295-306.

Before downloading, please read NORA policies.

Download (896kB)


The performance of an open- or closed-loop ground source heat pump system depends on local geological conditions. It is important that these are determined as accurately as possible when designing a system, to maximize efficiency and minimize installation costs. Factors that need to be considered are surface temperature, subsurface temperatures down to 100–200 m, thermal conductivities and diffusivities of the soil and rock layers, groundwater levels and flows, and aquifer properties. In addition, rock strength is a critical factor in determining the excavation or drilling method required at a site and the associated costs. The key to determining all of these factors is an accurate conceptual site-scale model of the ground conditions (soils, geology, thermogeology, engineering geology and hydrogeology). The British Geological Survey has used the modern digital geological mapping of the UK as a base onto which appropriate attributes can be assigned. As a result it is possible to generate regional maps of surface and subsurface temperatures, rock strength and depth to water. This information can be used by designers, planners and installers of ground source heat pump systems. The use of appropriate geological factors will assist in creating a system that meets the heating or cooling load of the building without unnecessary overengineering.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: BGS Programmes 2009 > Energy
ISSN: 0481-2085
NORA Subject Terms: Earth Sciences
Date made live: 25 Aug 2009 13:20 +0 (UTC)

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

Document Downloads

Downloads for past 30 days

Downloads per month over past year

More statistics for this item...