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Using the Ground for Thermal Energy Storage: The Experience of the Riverina Highlands Building, Tumut NSW

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All buildings interact with the ground for its ability to support their foundations. However, very few buildings interact with the ground for its ability to provide thermal energy storage. We have all experienced the moderate temperatures within a cave at depths of just a few metres. These temperatures are a function of average annual air temperature and are the result of the ground absorbing and storing solar energy. The use of this indirect and renewable solar energy can provide significant energy savings for heating and cooling systems.

A Ground Heat Exchanger (GHX) provides the ability to utilise the ground for thermal energy storage, essentially transforming the ground into a thermal battery. It enables us to extract heat from it in winter (heat source) and return that heat in summer (heat sink). It is a dynamic thermal battery that operates both simultaneously and over the annual heating / cooling cycle.

This presentation will provide an overview of how the ground is being utilised for its thermal energy storage capabilities around the world, with focus on a local installation at the Tumut Council owned Riverina Highlands Building, located in Tumut NSW. The installation has provided Council with energy savings on heating and cooling of 80 %, reduced peak energy loads by 40%, reduced maintenance costs and, importantly, provided significantly higher levels of occupant comfort. This has also increased the capacity and effectiveness of the concurrently installed solar PV array and will ensure that future solar energy storage will have greater impact.

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Using the Ground for Thermal Energy Storage: The Experience of the Riverina Highlands Building, Tumut NSW

  1. 1. Thermal Energy Management in the Built Environment Presented by: Yale Carden, Managing Director, GeoExchange Australia Pty Ltd and Jo Spicer, Environmental / GIS Officer, Tumut Shire Council 3 June 2015 Using the Ground for Thermal Energy Storage: The Experience of the Riverina Highlands Building, Tumut NSW
  2. 2. Presentation Overview  Why Thermal Energy Storage?  Thermal is Energy Too  Ground Heat Exchanger as Thermal Energy Storage  The Riverina Highlands Building Energy Efficiency Project (RHBEEP)  Contacts Australian Energy Storage Conference: 3-4 June 2015
  3. 3. Why Thermal Energy Storage  Up to 80 % annual energy savings  Reduce peak load up to 50 %  Remove cooling towers  Remove external plant and free up building design  Disconnect natural gas and other fossil fuels  Increase renewables potential for full load capacity  Easily integrates with other energy solutions Australian Energy Storage Conference: 3-4 June 2015
  4. 4. Thermal is Energy Too  ClimateWorks: Top 10 Energy Productivity Solutions  Thermal energy can also be renewable – not just gas and fossil fuels  Thermal sources in the built environment:  Atmosphere  Ground  Building Foundations / Car Parks  Water Bodies  Sewer and Wastewater  Other Buildings  Flexibility to optimise demand requirements with available source(s):  Heating, cooling and hot water demands:  Simultaneous  Diurnal  Seasonal  Available thermal sources – mix and match Australian Energy Storage Conference: 3-4 June 2015
  5. 5. Geoexchange: Thermal Connectivity Australian Energy Storage Conference: 3-4 June 2015 Distribution – Heating and Cooling Ground Heat Exchanger Refrigeration Circuit – Ground Source Heat Pump Hot Water Circuit
  6. 6. Ground Heat Exchangers  Use of constant, stable temperatures as:  Heat Source (heating)  Heat Sink (cooling)  Thermal Energy Storage  Generic term that includes the ground, water bodies, sewer, building foundations Australian Energy Storage Conference: 3-4 June 2015
  7. 7. Ground and Water Loops Australian Energy Storage Conference: 3-4 June 2015
  8. 8. Energy Piles Australian Energy Storage Conference: 3-4 June 2015
  9. 9. Sewer Heat Recovery Australian Energy Storage Conference: 3-4 June 2015  Also includes wastewater / treated effluent  Not just heating – cooling also possible  20-25C heat source / sink is common  Match ‘water’ flow to heating / cooling requirements  Local projects using treated effluent:  Hobart Aquatic Centre, Hobart  Grand Chancellor Hotel, Hobart
  10. 10. Aquifer Thermal Energy Storage Australian Energy Storage Conference: 3-4 June 2015 Source: www.building.co.uk
  11. 11. District Geoexchange Systems Australian Energy Storage Conference: 3-4 June 2015
  12. 12. Case Study: Tumut Council, NSW Australian Energy Storage Conference: 3-4 June 2015
  13. 13. The Situation Australian Energy Storage Conference: 3-4 June 2015  A thermally inefficient building  Summers were hot and uncomfortable. Winter was not much better  The HVAC plant failed on a regular basis  HVAC simply did not meet the building occupant’s requirements  Inefficient and expensive lighting
  14. 14. Objectives and Actions Australian Energy Storage Conference: 3-4 June 2015  Riverina Highlands Building Energy Efficiency Project (RHBEEP) objectives:  Reduce energy expenditure  Reduce reliance on imported energy  Reduce GHG (Green House Gas) emission  Improve comfort levels in the building  What we did:  GeoExchange HVAC/GSHP system installed  Lighting upgrade  Sub metering  Ceiling insulation
  15. 15. The Installed System Australian Energy Storage Conference: 3-4 June 2015  The Ground Heat Exchanger:  35 Boreholes  92 m deep  40 mm diameter polyethylene pipe  7 m spacings  Ground Source Heat Pumps:  26 x WaterFurnace 7 series  Variable speed compressor  Variable speed fan  Energy performance monitoring  Pumping System:  Variable speed pumps to match heating / cooling load
  16. 16. RHBEEP and Thermal Energy Storage Australian Energy Storage Conference: 3-4 June 2015 Short term storage: Simultaneous or diurnal Annual storage Heat Rejection Heat Extraction Heat Rejection
  17. 17. Before and After: Building Energy Australian Energy Storage Conference: 3-4 June 2015
  18. 18. Before and After: Building Energy Australian Energy Storage Conference: 3-4 June 2015
  19. 19. Before and After: HVAC only 2012: 961 633 MJ 2014: 282 279 MJ Australian Energy Storage Conference: 3-4 June 2015
  20. 20. Before and After: Ancillary Benefits  RHBEEP is demonstration that:  Integration of technologies  Site specific design  Programmed optimisation  Is effective in  Reducing energy consumption, whilst  Maintaining a comfortable and pleasant work environment  Increased storage capacity in the plant room by approximately 500% Australian Energy Storage Conference: 3-4 June 2015
  21. 21. Before and After: Summary  Building energy savings: ~80 % and $94 000 per annum  HVAC energy savings: ~71 % and $85 000 per annum  Maintenance / tenancy savings: ~$80 000 per annum  Electricity demand reduction: 151 kVA (75 %) Geoexchange at 49 %  GHG Reduction: 79 tCO2  Simple Payback: ~7.6 years  Return on Investment: 11-12 % Australian Energy Storage Conference: 3-4 June 2015
  22. 22. Contact Details Yale Carden GeoExchange Australia Pty Ltd IGSHPA – Australasia Phone: 02 8404 4193 Email: ycarden@geoexchange.com.au Website: www.geoexchange.com.au Joanne Spicer Tumut Shire Council Phone: 02 6941 2555 Email: jspicer@tumut.nsw.gov.au Website: www.tumut.nsw.gov.au The RHBEEP Project http://www.tumut.nsw.gov.au/riverina-highlands-building-energy-efficient-project- rhbeep.aspx Australian Energy Storage Conference: 3-4 June 2015

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