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CP2 Surface water source heat pumps: Code of Practice for the UK
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CP2 Surface water source heat pumps: Code of Practice for the UK

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This Code of Practice has been produced as a joint project between the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE), the Heat Pump Association (HPA) and the Ground Source Heat Pump Association (GSHPA). The work has been supported by the UK Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

Surface water source heat pumps (SWSHPs) are an underused technology in the UK. Harnessing renewable energy from the sea, rivers, canals and lakes represents a huge opportunity to provide low carbon heating/cooling to buildings. However, if SWSHPs are to form a significant part of our future low carbon energy infrastructure they need to be designed, built, operated and maintained to a high quality to deliver customer satisfaction. This Code of Practice has been produced to assist in achieving that aim by raising standards right across the supply chain and to stimulate adoption of the technology.

Setting minimum requirements (and recommending best practice) should provide greater confidence for specifiers and developers. This Code of Practice can also be included in the tendering/contracting process to specify minimum requirements for a project. The adoption of this Code of Practice by developers could ultimately be used to support marketing by providing assurance to customers and property purchasers that their SWSHP scheme has followed a set of design, installation and commissioning standards. This Code of Practice should therefore have a significant effect on the SWSHP market by boosting confidence in the technology. 

NOTE: A short leaflet explaining how the Code can be used in this way by building owners and developers can be downloaded here

The publication was launched in April 2016 - details of the event and copies of the presentations can be downloaded from the GSHPA website.

Linked titles

CIBSE has so far published two other Codes of Practice in this area:

  • CP1: Heat Networks: Code of Practice for the UK (here) and supported by 'A Guide for Building Owners and Developers' (here)
  • CP3: Open-loop groundwater source heat pumps: CoP for the UK - Harnessing energy from water in the ground for heating and cooling (here).



Part A – How to use this CodeA1 Introduction

A2 The scope and audience of the Code of Practice

A3 The structure of the Code of Practice

Part B – SWSHPs: challenges and opportunities

B1 The heat pump

B2 Water sources 

B3 Open and closed loop systems 

B4 Challenges and opportunities of different applications

Part C – The requirements

1. Preparation and briefing

  • Objective 1.1: To commission the project in accordance with the Code of Practice
  • Objective 1.2: To develop the specification/project brief

2. Feasibility

  • Objective 2.1: To assess environmental impacts and benefits
  • Objective 2.2: To identify and quantify the most suitable surface water source and the best method of energy exchange
  • Objective 2.3: To determine what permissions are necessary to access the water
  • Objective 2.4: To determine heat pump location and water abstraction and discharge (or closed loop heat exchanger) details, including cost estimates
  • Objective 2.5: To accurately estimate peak and seasonal heating and cooling demands
  • Objective 2.6: To agree suitable load-side operating flow rates and control strategies
  • Objective 2.7: To select the most appropriate heat pump system
  • Objective 2.8: To assess operation and maintenance needs and costs
  • Objective 2.9: To conduct a financial analysis in order to comprehensively evaluate the installation options
  • Objective 2.10: To analyse risks and carry out a sensitivity analysis

3. Design

  • Objective 3.1: To design for safety in construction, operation and maintenance
  • Objective 3.2: To evaluate environmental impacts and benefits
  • Objective 3.3: To apply for the permissions necessary to access the water
  • Objective 3.4: To design a reliable installation with a long life and low maintenance requirements
  • Objective 3.5: To accurately determine peak heating and cooling demands and seasonal energy consumption profiles
  • Objective 3.6: To specify the most appropriate heat pump system
  • Objective 3.7: To design an efficient load-side hydraulic system interface 
  • Objective 3.8: To design a data collection system to accurately record performance
  • Objective 3.9: To update and refine the risk register and sensitivity analysis
  • Objective 3.10: To confirm a cost statement for the main system elements of the project

4. Construction and installation

  • Objective 4.1: To reduce adverse environmental impacts of construction
  • Objective 4.2: To reduce health and safety risks
  • Objective 4.3: To achieve a high quality construction in accordance with the design and to deliver a reliable long life asset
  • Objective 4.4: To pressure test, flush clean, purge and fill all pipework and plant

5. Commissioning

  • Objective 5.1: To follow a structured commissioning management plan
  • Objective 5.2: To commission the source side of the heat pump installation
  • Objective 5.3: To commission the heat pump and immediate supply-side equipment
  • Objective 5.4: To commission and calibrate the performance data collection system 
  • Objective 5.5: To carry out a formal handover and provide appropriate information to the operations team

6. Operation and maintenance

  • Objective 6.1: To reduce health and safety risks to staff, customers and the general public
  • Objective 6.2: To minimise environmental impacts of operation and maintenance
  • Objective 6.3: To deliver a cost-effective efficient maintenance schedule that maximises system efficiency, reliability and asset life
  • Objective 6.4: To provide appropriate monitoring and reporting, including reliability and CO2 emissions

7. Decommissioning

  • Objective 7.1: To decommission the heat pump
  • Objective 7.2: To decommission the source side


  • A. Glossary of terms
  • B. Key legislation
  • C. Useful contacts
  • D. Calculating system efficiency
  • E. Navigating the way: DECC WSHP customer journey

Case studies

  • Drammen, Fjenvarme, AS district Heating network, Norway
  • Kingston Heights, Surrey, UK
  • Country estate, Horsham, West Sussex, UK
  • Baltimore lifeboat station, Ireland
  • Plas Newydd, Llandairpwll, Anglesey, UK

Steering Group

Chairs: Phil Jones (Chair, CIBSE CHP & District Heating Group); Tony Bowen (Immediate Past President, Heat Pump Association (HPA)); Simon Lomax (Chair, Ground Source Heat Pump Association (GSHPA))

Authors: Prepared by a consortium led by Themba Technology Ltd, under contract to CIBSE and in association with HPA and GSHPA. 

Lead authors: Nic Wincott (NeoEnergy) & Jen Billings (GSHPA)

Steering Committee members: Anthony Coumidis (McBains Cooper), Chris Davidson Genius Energy Lab), Daniel Foulds (DECC), Darren Leftley (Canal and River Trust), David Matthews (Themba Technology Ltd), Dave Pearson (Star Refrigeration), Duncan Nicholson (Arup), Ed Palmer (CIBSE), Graham Hazell (HPA), Greg Grebrail (DECC); Guy Boulby (DECC), Huw Blackwell (Islington Council), John Findlay (Carbon Zero Consulting), Kevin Byrne (Consultant), Mike Crane (GI Energy), Mike Spenser-Morris (Zero Carbon Partnership)), Paul Southall (National Trust), Reginald Brown (BSRIA), Richard Venga (Mitsubishi Electric), Robert Jeans (RNLI), Sasha Krstanovic (AECOM) & Stephen Oates (Environment Agency)

Other acknowledgments: Further comments were received from corresponding members, including:

Paul Adams (Linden Environment), Graham Allardice (DECC), Kalpana Balakrishnam (Natural Resources Wales), Bean Beanland (ISO Energy), Chris Dunham (Carbon Descent), Paul Eslinger (The Wessex Environmental Partnership / Angling Trust), Ross Hodson (Marine Management Organisation), Paul Millard (Water Regulations Advisory Scheme), Mark Owen (Angling Trust) & Jeffrey Spitler (University of Oklahoma)


The Code of Practice was made available for public consultation between 22 June and 25 July 2015. 13 responses were received using the official consultation response form with a further seven informal responses received by email.

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