Renovated Chapel in Devon with Unique Air Source Heat Pump & Fan Coil Solution


South Hams Christian Fellowship were offered a new home in Kingsbridge as their place of worship – an historic Chapel built in 1853.  Requiring a complete renovation and new heating system, the Chapel was renovated and now boasts two Panasonic Aquarea heat pumps with underfloor heating and eight Panasonic fan coils to heat the large open space.

A challenging aspect of the project was that the main space is a large open area with ceilings 8 metres in height and featuring very large windows. Russ Hughes, Managing Director of Hei Group researched the best solution to heat this enormous space with renewables specialist Roland Gurner from Oceanair. Two Panasonic 16kW Aquarea heat pumps were specified to heat the building with an underfloor heating system with the addition of eight fan coil units for the main large open space.

Gerry Matthewman from the Leadership team at South Hams Christian Fellowship explains: “The original heating system was not very energy efficient and very costly to run. It consisted of electric radiant heaters that were positioned above head height and our users of the space often complained that they were cold. We were looking for something that would provide all round heat for the entire building and be more environmentally friendly. The congregation are now commenting that they do feel much warmer with the Panasonic system.”

The Panasonic Aquarea range is renowned for delivering major energy savings thanks to its incredible efficiency levels. The Aquarea system operates by transferring heat instead of generating it. The range uses a renewable, free energy source (the air) to heat or cool the home in addition to producing hot water. The T-Cap line-up can maintain the heat pump output capacity until -20oC outdoor temperature without the help of an electrical booster heater.


Roland Gurner, Air to Water Specialist at Oceanair, and experienced in renewables and heat pump installations adds “We looked at a number of different options for this project; we needed to provide a solution that could quickly come up from cold to warm in a very large space – the fan coil units can provide heat where the congregation sits in the main open space with the underfloor system meeting in the middle – if you heat people’s feet they will naturally start to feel warmer. Nothing else could deliver the same result as the Panasonic system could offer, it made it much easier from an installation point of view. For the customer it is a smoother experience when everything is provided from one manufacturer, including the heat pump, fan coils and the controllers. The Panasonic system is unique in that it has a built in back-up heater within the software that gives the ability to more easily control the system – no other manufacturer has this – they are normally external to the main unit.”

Russ Hughes of Hei Group, Electrical and Mechanical Contractors that specialise in Commercial and Industrial units such as the renovated space at the Chapel, suggested the fan coils as he had worked with these in the past. He commented “As the space was very large with 8-metre-high ceilings, it was a challenge to find the right solution to heat the space, we have found in the past that fan coils are very good at being able to quickly heat a large open space such as that at the Chapel. The main challenge that took a lot of time for this project was firming up the construction designs, but once these were drawn up and completed, everything else went smoothly. We found that working with the experienced team at Oceanair and Panasonic helped, the system itself was easy to install with no problems”.