The secret to getting Renewable Energy Systems right first time, every time.
November 28, 2014
When we’re asked to look at underperforming or problematic renewable energy systems where do we start? In the words of Carlsberg, our team have probably designed more Ground Source Heat Pump (GSHP) systems than anyone else. So let’s use that technology as an example.
Where do we look to find the smoking gun for the system issues? The ground loop of course? No. OK, so it’s in the plant room; it must be the heat pumps? No. The pumps then? No!
The answer - The building? Getting closer.
The Secret. It’s nearly always a poorly designed control & monitoring package. Our advice is to start with the building. Draw on real world installed experience and get the controls strategy right and you're onto a winning building to be proud of.
GeniusEnergyLab’s team have over 200MW of real world commercial installed experience in GSHP systems. Consult with us now to get it right “First time. Every time.” firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: Since posting this article we have had feedback from numerous sources to provide some additional thoughts. Here is a synopsis of some more detail around this subject in the form of "Do and Don't".....
- Spend time well in advance of the installation considering the control strategy. A simple flowchart is normally the way to go and a team approach is always better than sitting in a room on your own! - Consider as many modes for the system as possible, what happens if the outside air temperature is higher than the loop and the loop is in turn above the set point for the fluid cooler to come in on a Wednesday in March after lunch when you have had a tuna sandwich. Every possibility you consider at the strategic stage is a warranty call avoided. - Watch out for logic traps when you are looking at this, how many times have we all seen an auxiliary heat source come on, take over and never go off again! - Include remote monitoring and control even if you think the project can't afford it - this should be in capitals, underscored and bold. - Consider and work closely with the main building management system at every stage. This should get to the point where the renewable energy control system is the main building management system. To this end it is probably best to have one contractor responsible for the whole of the installation of the control system but this may not always be practical in which case spend time avoiding the dreaded "finger pointing" conversation. - Build post occupancy evaluation and optimisation into the project. - Specify and install energy meters carefully and exactly to manufacturers specification. - Build in flexibility with as many set points and parameters as possible. If you don't you will regret it! - If you're a consultant then educate the client. If you're the client, then ask your project team if you are asking the right questions!
- Over do the number or points or resolution of measurement and recording of parameters - information is useless and lots of information is really useless - it's understanding we are after. - Stick a heap of numbers in a report to the client and call it managing the system for the same reason as above. - Get overly complex - keep it simple and fit for purpose. - Rely on the internal controls of a heat pump unless your are 110% sure you are within their capability. - Forget the basics - like COP is energy out over energy in so if you don't have a record of these you can't draw any conclusions or prove performance. - Expect the building to do what it was designed to do! - Ever walk away until the client is happy.
There are more and that's why people turn to GeniusEnergyLab.