Research Papers: Integrated Sustainable Equipment and Systems for Buildings

Performance of Thermoactive Foundations for Commercial Buildings

[+] Author and Article Information
Moncef Krarti

Building Systems Engineering
e-mail: Krartii@colorado.edu

Civil, Environmental, and Architectural
Engineering Department,
University of Colorado,
Boulder, CO 80309

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Solar Energy Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF SOLAR ENERGY ENGINEERING. Manuscript received January 11, 2013; final manuscript received August 1, 2013; published online October 17, 2013. Assoc. Editor: Jorge E. Gonzalez.

J. Sol. Energy Eng 135(4), 040907 (Oct 17, 2013) (10 pages) Paper No: SOL-13-1016; doi: 10.1115/1.4025587 History: Received January 11, 2013; Revised August 01, 2013

A transient three-dimensional numerical solution is developed to analyze the thermal performance of thermo-active foundations used to heat and cool commercial buildings. Using laboratory testing data, the numerical solution is validated and used to carry out a sensitivity analysis to assess the most important design and operating parameters that affect the thermal performance of thermo-active foundations. It is found that the foundation depth, the shank space, the fluid flow rate, and the number of U-tube loops in each foundation pile are the main parameters that affect the thermal performance of a thermo-active foundation system. Based on the validated numerical solution, thermal response factors for a thermo-active foundation are developed, and implemented into a detailed building energy simulation program. These thermal response factors are then used to estimate the impact of installing thermo-active foundations on the total energy use of typical office buildings in representative US climates.

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Fig. 1

(a) Simplified three-dimensional cylindrical model for a thermo-active foundation, and (b) grid scheme used for the numerical solution

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Fig. 2

(a) A test set-up for a scale-model TAF system and (b) locations of strain and temperature probes

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Fig. 3.

Comparison of the experimental data and the predicted data: (a) far-field ground temperature, and (b) pipe outflow temperature

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Fig. 4

Summary results of the sensitivity analysis for: (a) foundation depth, (b) shank space, (c) fluid velocity, and (d) number of U-tube loops in a foundation

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Fig. 5

Comparative estimation from numerical solution and from (a) short-time step g-functions of Eskilson's approach, and from (b) long-time step g-function of Yavuzturk's approach

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Fig. 6

Variations of g-functions for selected design TAF parameters including: (a) foundation depths, (b) volume flow rate, (c) shank space—long time steps, (d) shank space—short time steps, (e) concrete thermal conductivity, and (f) soil thermal conductivity

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Fig. 7

Location of foundation piles along the office building slab floor

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Fig. 8

Schematic heating and cooling TAF system as modeled in EnergyPlus

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Fig. 9

Impact of TAF design parameters on building heating and cooling energy end-uses for an office building in Chicago, IL

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Fig. 10

Percent reduction of cooling and heating energy end-uses associated with TAF system for a prototypical small office building in five U.S. climates




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