Royal estate’s barn-to-farmhouse conversion opts for heat pump

Project overview
Cloughton Fields farm is part of the Duchy of Lancaster, a unique portfolio of land, property and assets held in trust for the reigning British monarch. Located in a small coastal village just north of Scarborough in Yorkshire, Cloughton Fields was opened in 2015 as a purpose- built 21st century farm with strong green credentials. A £2 m investment in buildings on the site included the conversion of an old barn from an unheated cattle shed into a four-bedroom, five-bathroom farmhouse. Tenant farmer Joe Green and his wife Debbie wanted the house’s heating system to use environmentally-friendly technology, consistent with the Duchy’s commitment to sustainability.

The Viessmann solution
Joe Green had previously lived and worked at the Duchy of Lancaster’s town farm in the village of Cloughton all of his life, just as his father did before him. Limited space in the village, however, prevented expansion of the successful Green Farming business, which is why Cloughton Fields was opened. As Joe explains: “Agriculture is moving on apace, with new technologies, green energies, and increasingly sophisticated facilities. We wanted to take advantage of these new advances and apply them so that the business can continue to grow and we can pass on to the next generation a first- class model of contemporary farming.”

To retrofit a heating system in the old barn, a biomass boiler was initially considered before it was concluded that heat pump technology would be best-suited to the high insulation values of the refurbished building and cheaper to run.
The heat pump specified, the Viessmann Vitocal 300-G, is available in five output sizes (either as ground source or water source), making it suitable for industrial, commercial, agricultural and residential applications. The Vitocal is notable for its low noise, low vibration emissions and low operating costs achieved through high coefficients of performance. Viessmann’s innovative RCD (refrigerant cycle diagnostic) system ensures optimum efficiency at any operating point through the interaction between the electronic expansion valve (EEV) and extensive sensor technology.

The Vitocal is easy to deliver and install, being only 88 cm wide, with scroll compressors and R410A refrigerant hermetically sealed inside the heat pump casing and with a ready-to-use connection for fail-safe primary and secondary pumps. At Cloughton Fields the heat pump is connected by two header pipes from a plant room next to the converted barn to an underground manifold 35 metres away. The manifold is in turn connected to eight 250 metre-long loops, which collect heat from the ground. After the energy collected by this system has been transferred to the heat pump, it is stored in Viessmann Vitocell domestic hot water and buffer tanks, which supply heating o r hot water to the house via insulated piping.

In keeping with the Duchy’s commitment to sustainability, power for the heat pump itself is drawn from a solar photovoltaic array situated on a nearby barn roof.

Low costs and low emissions with high levels of comfort

Joe Green reports that the heat generated by the ground source heat pump makes the barn-turned-farmhouse, “unbelievably comfortable. I’m really pleased with the system, thrilled with the comfort levels all around the house. And the service and support has been fantastic.”

The heat pump is eligible for funding of £8,000 per year from the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme. This means it will have paid for itself within four years and will continue to provide heating and hot water at virtually no cost and with no emissions, for many years after that.
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