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Energy management ought not be an afterthought.

Posted by on Apr 13, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

If you look at the HVAC industry you’ll find that energy management is not an accurate description of what they “do”. In rare cases some version of it happens but really only as an add on to an existing systems controls. “Control” can mean many things and what it generally means to the HVAC industry is “it functions”.

Now that we have this emerging world of connected devices the optimized management of energy, rather than the control of the system, ought to be the focus.

As a small example, it is up to the HVAC installer to set the set-points and the differentials on a boiler or a heat pump (and size the equipment to begin with).  The goal is to limit short cycling but still provide adequate supply temperature to the distribution (and capacity). Sometimes this includes an outdoor temp factor, sometimes not. The point is that wherever the set-points and differentials are set will affect the system performance but all the customer usually knows is if the system is functioning or not. Also, the contractor may be doing what he thinks is best but there is rarely any objective measure in place to verify the performance is optimal.

Even when systems do have data logging and are being monitored and controlled effectively consider that they are still generally “blind” designs to begin with. In other words, they were not modeled and optimized on software prior to being configured in the physical world. So they may be effectively managing what they are, but really the design is somebody’s guess. Who’s to say the configuration is ideal if you don’t have anything else to compare it to?

This becomes all the more relevant when systems are multi-source/sink and have thermal storage elements. The room for optimizing a design is significant and so is the possibility of poor designs and mismanaged control.

Software defined pre-configured configurations and a management service to support them is the future of HVAC.

 

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R.P.A. Interview

Posted by on Apr 9, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Back in November we had the great honor to present to the Radiant Professionals Alliance. Our interview with Mark Eatherton and Dave Yates is over two hours long and is the second presentation we’ve had with the R.P.A.

We discuss the economics and benefits using water/ice as a latent capable thermal battery energy storage system.

We welcome any questions or comments about the interview below.

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How much energy is there in one vertical ton of earth loop?

Posted by on Apr 8, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Imagine a column of rock that is 200′ tall and has a 15′ radius. The volume of this column is 141,428 cubic feet. Converted to cubic yards / 27 = 5,238 cubic yards. Lets say that this particular rock weighs 3,500 lbs per yard. This means the column weights 18,333,000 lbs.
Lets say that it has a specific heat of 0.25. This would mean that this column of rock would have a thermal capacity of 4,583,250 BTU per degree.

As we know, we cannot “pull” on this entire column at the same time with a single bore hole in the middle of it. We will create layers of differential temperatures as we suck the heat from the center of it. We are “done” when the first radius of earth outside the borehole has been lowered to a temperature that is too low to support a high enough differential into the loop pipe.

Lets use 25F as our minimum fluid temp and lets say that the first radius outside the borehole allows the fluid temp to drop to 25F when it reaches 38F. If that were the reality of the situation then I would say that this could represent the bottom of the capacity of the borehole.

But what if we slow down the flow of the fluid? If we do that then we can keep “mining” the borehole even after the first radius reached the “bottom” of the operational capacity.

How can we slow down the fluid and not shut down the system? By using a thermal battery we separate time direct requirements from cumulative totals.

So if we put a constant slow pull on the bore hole and such heat out of that rock column… how many BTU do you think we could get?

Lets say that over the three coldest months of the winter the deficit energy (not provided by solar input) is 24 million BTU over 90 days.

The rock column would have to give up about 5.24 degrees across its entire mass to do this. Could it do it? If it did it would have delivered an average of 11,111 BTU per hour into the system for the entire 90 days. This seems too high to me and I would tend to doubt that we could expect this arraignment to keep up.

The problem is that we keep doings that we expect to cause system depletion and we keep getting surprised by the results.

Thoughs or questions? Comment below.

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The industry is beginning to see…

Posted by on Feb 6, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

I have been recently seeing the signs that the HVAC industry is beginning to wake up.  On the one hand it is very refreshing, and on the other it is exasperating.  It is exasperating because some of the “industry experts” who had previously ignored the assertions we were making have now seemingly made original discoveries.

Thermal energy is a valuable resource and it ought to be managed as one.  Air source heat pumps do not manage it, they just deal with whatever it happens to be.  Ground source systems sort of manage it if you consider “managing” to be an inability to see it anywhere but in the ground.  Solar thermal collectors sort of manage it in the same way a private country club manages it’s members…. very exclusively with only the high end being admitted.

None of the above mentioned “technologies” actually treats site-sourced thermal energy as valuable resource.  They think that their industry is is the resource.  The GSHP industry or the ST industry has trade organizations that look out for the interests of the industry.  Who looks out for the customers interests?  Who tells the end user of the thermal energy that the segmented sub-industries within HVAC have their own interests in mind and not the end users interests?

 

 

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A graph of a thermal battery system over this past winter.

Posted by on Mar 27, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

2013-2014 Heating Season

2013-2014 Heating Season

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Our Thermal Battery Systems demo unit.

Posted by on Mar 19, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

tbsdemoftcollins

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