Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Interseasonal Thermal Storage - High Rise!

This is NOT an aerial photo, folks, it demonstrates how good
Earth Google has become, that the models are fully textured.
Our design site is over the parking garage where
the Brooklyn tunnel emerges.
18 Jan '11: One unexpected product of this research has emerged this semester, as my Tall Building students are doing a Passivhaus based 60 storey multi-use tower for New York.
  What started out as a very private project for me on my own house has ballooned into a key technology that can be applied to tall and super-tall buildings. One of their requirements is to heat and cool the apartments without any burning! This would be truly passive if the heating and cooling can be done with a combination of no-fuel methods such as thermal capacity, phase change materials, triple state heat pumps, localised geothermal stores etc. Much of the south facade can contain a mixture of PV and solar thermal panels (or tubes) and these can store to enough volume to meet the heating requirements of very well insulated apartments. This requires some very good design to make a 'smart' facade, and very high insulation standards applied to each apartment.
    Because geothermal heat pumps are a prime way to heat the apartments without burning primary fuel, where is the 'Geo' in geothermal? The real 'Geo' is a very long way down, too long to overcome system losses from pumping vertically and insulating. Also it is already complexified by the NY subway and subway entrance running under the building, and old sewers from previous buildings - and about 5 storeys of underground parking - and deeper down below that it is rock! Winters are too cold to consider air source heat pumps, as the degree days every winter are similar to the December'10 that Britain has just experienced, indeed, during the same month, Manhattan itself was brought to a halt by extreme weather conditions.
    So they are, in effect, having to build the 'Geo' at high altitude. Some will suggest water tanks, some will suggest PCM material stores, and these will either be on every floor on the north side, or will be larger elements every 4-6 floors. There will be localised heat pumps either in each apartment or serving each floor, with liquid underfloor heating to each apartment.
    I will publish some illustrations after we have had an appraisal of their work, which is due on 19th Jan, and then we hope that some of the projects will be on show at EcoBuild in Earls Court, in March 2011.

20 Jan '11 Postscript: We have now had the crit and seen the work of the students, and they have until 24th Jan to tidy up and finalise and then finally submit to Isover. I will be able to post details of them on here after 1st Feb, but at low detail. They have all used interseasonal storage, with slightly varying ideas on the best way to collect the heat, position the stores and distribute the heat.

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