Sub-hourly simulation of residential ground coupled heat pump systems

Kummert, M. and Bernier, M.; (2006) Sub-hourly simulation of residential ground coupled heat pump systems. In: Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on System Simulation in Buildings. University of Liege, pp. 34-46.

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Residential Ground Coupled Heat Pump systems are usually characterised by an ON/OFF behaviour of the heat pump with typical cycling frequencies of 1 - 4 cycles per hour. The ground loop fluid pump has the same ON/OFF behaviour and the borehole heat exchanger operates either in full flow or no flow conditions. Typical hourly simulations of GCHP systems use steady-state models for the heat pump and the borehole fluid (transient models being used for buildings and heat transfer in the ground). This paper reviews the models used in typical hourly simulations as well as transient models that are available and compares the results obtained using the two classes of models within the TRNSYS simulation environment. Both the long-term energy performance and the optimum system design are compared. It is shown that using steady-state models leads to an overestimation of the energy use that ranges from a few percents with oversized borehole heat exchangers to 75% for undersized exchangers. A simple Life Cycle Cost analysis shows that using steady-state models can lead to selecting a very different design than the one that would have been selected using dynamic models.