Powercor and St George’s College’s work shows the power of Ground Source Heat Pump technology

Powercor’s Technical Director Chris Wright explains how the company’s work with one of the country’s leading public schools highlights how a can-do attitude is key to delivering a reduction in carbon emissions, and with it energy costs.

Our relationship with St George’s College Weybridge has been a lengthy one, encompassing a wide range of work and collaboration. This has not only fundamentally changed the way the school sources its energy but also how students approach STEM subjects.

Most recently the college has undertaken work to install a ground source heat pump system.

The system will see the college source the power in 16 of its boilers via the heat pumps which equates to 90% of its hot water. One boiler will remain gas powered to function as a top up system to ensure that it can meet the regulations required for school hot water systems, should it be needed.

It has been a significant undertaking. Both Powercor and myself personally have been part of the process from the outset, working on the feasibility study. When the plans were put into practice Powercor was tasked to ensuring the school’s electrical and power systems were at a level which would allow the use of the ground source heating systems, including a transponder station which will be at the heart of the system.

The whole project took 18 months from start to finish and required companies with multiple skill sets to play their part. From grid analysis, bore hole technology and pipe installation, the project saw a wide range of leading companies in their respective fields work together to deliver the right outcome.

A “can do” attitude was so important from all those involved to deliver their parts of the project.

Quite apart from being one of the leading independent schools in the United Kingdom, St George’s is fast becoming a prime example of how schools can effectively move towards a net zero future and with it tackle the rising costs of energy which are set to impact budgets for several years to come.

At Powercor we have been fortunate to have worked with the college on the majority of its journey.

From the outset we have engaged with the senior leadership team to redefine the way the school accesses and uses energy.

From auto metering and targeting to the installation of LED lighting and solar installations, we have been at the heart of the college’s efforts. Again this is a case of where a can-do attitude from the college has been so important.

When we have completed a project, the benefits have been such that the college have then looked at what the next step should be and we have started work to deliver it.

Throughout we have been transparent and honest. The correct solution is not always the cheapest.

What is so exciting for the college is that the return on investment for the projects are tangible. The college can see the savings the projects have delivered in their reduced energy costs.

But our relationship with St George’s goes beyond the projects to redefine its energy and power systems. The college also plays a significant part in our Corporate Social Responsibility strategy and we continue to work with the college on its STEM programme to shape the scientists and engineers of the future.

Communication and collaboration are key to the delivery of any project but coupled with the willingness to go the extra mile to achieve the desired outcome, success is far more likely. 

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