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Energy and efficiency analysis of environmental heat sources and sinks: In-use performance

: Kalz, D.E.; Pfafferott, J.; Herkel, S.; Wagner, A.


Renewable energy 36 (2011), 3, pp.916-929
ISSN: 0960-1481
Journal Article
Fraunhofer ISE ()
Thermische Anlagen und Gebäudetechnik; Energieeffiziente Gebäude; Energieeffiziente Gebäude und Gebäudetechnik; Energiekonzepte für Gebäude; Betriebsführung von Gebäuden; Gebäudekonzepte; Analyse; Betrieb

A detailed analysis of the heating and cooling performance of environmental heat sources and sinks is presented for 12 low-energy buildings in Germany. In particular, the analysis focuses on the given temperature levels and the efficiency performance of the environmental heat sources and sinks in summer and winter. The investigated buildings employ environmental heat sources and sinks – such as the ground, groundwater, rainwater and the ambient air – in combination with thermo-active building systems (TABS). These concepts are promising approaches for slashing the primary energy use of buildings without violating occupant thermal comfort. A limited primary energy use of about 100 kW hprim/(mnet2 a) as a target for the complete building service technology (HVAC and lighting) was postulated for all buildings presented. With respect to this premise, comprehensive long-term monitoring in fine time-resolution occurred over a period from two to five years. An accompanying commissioning of the building performance took place. Measurements include water supply and return temperatures of the environmental heat sources/sinks, the generated heating and cooling energy, efficiencies of the system, and local climatic site conditions. The comparative evaluation of the systems in all buildings identifies weak points and success factors of the plant. Besides, it characterizes the single component and points out further potential for optimization measures. The annual efficiency performance of the geothermal heat sources and sinks results in a seasonal performance factor of 8–10 kW htherm/kW hend, where the end energy use is electricity. The ground, groundwater, rainwater and even the ambient air constitute efficient heat sources/sinks. Energy is needed only for distributing the heat and cold and not for its generation. The choice of suitable plant components, the accurate design of the hydraulic system and the correct dimension of the environmental heat source/sink play a central role in achieving higher efficiencies.