Geothermal HVAC Automation
Automating A Geothermal HVAC System
Heating and cooling in the home is one of the biggest energy expenses. But keeping your home at the perfect temperature throughout the seasons is important to keep your family comfortable, happy and healthy. As much as we can try to minimise our use of climate controlling appliances in the home like aircon, fans and heaters – in an Australian Summer, sometimes there’s really no choice but to try to regulate the temperature. And that climate control can really add to your power use and bill. Most people spend up to half of their energy bill on heating and cooling.
This is why geothermal HVAC in the home is so incredible. Because it means the home is kept at the perfect comfortable temperature, whilst minimising your power bills and your home’s environmental impact.
Renewable sources of energy are amazing and are definitely the path that our society needs to follow moving forward. We have unlimited sustainable sources of energy available to us, from the sun and from the depths of the Earth. It is encouraging to the see the uptake of renewable energy options in the modern home. We are proud to be part of the renewable energy revolution.
Some of the best renewable energy options for the home include solar panels, wind turbines and geothermal ground source heat pumps, or a combination of those. We love working on homes with geothermal HVAC and a solar and battery setup.
What is Geothermal Heating and Cooling?
Geothermal heat pumps are an incredible development as they provide constant energy. Unlike solar panels which require the sun to be shining, or wind turbines which need a bit of wind. A geothermal system will provide continuous temperature control as it uses the earth’s steady temperature underground. 24/7 renewable HVAC generation – isn’t that amazing.
Geothermal (ground source heat pump) home units work because the temperature below ground remains mostly constant all the time. As the outside air temperature fluctuates between hot in the summer and cold in the winter, there is a temperature differential between that outside air and the core below ground. A geothermal heating and cooling system transfers the extra heat from below ground into your home in the winter, and it transfers the extra heat from your home into the ground in the summer. Ground source heat pumps take heat from the ground, raise its temperature and use the energy to heat your property. Ground source heat pumps operate on the same refrigeration cycle principles as a domestic fridge but use the cycle in reverse to generate spatial heating and domestic hot water. The pumps can also be used to provide spatial cooling either using a passive circuit to meet low-level cooling demands or using an active circuit where cooling demands are higher. Both active and passive modes can act to partially replenish the ground array and, if both heating and cooling modes are utilised, the total annualised seasonal performance factors can be very high. This can deliver excellent fuel savings and significant carbon emissions reductions.
The advantage of using a ground source heat pump is its efficiency. For every kWh of electricity used to power the heat pump, about three or four kWh of energy is extracted from the ground.
A Geothermal HVAC system in a home will typically consist of a heat pump, ground collector array to absorb energy from the ground, a manifold and manifold pit for joining it all together, circulation pumps to move the energy around the system, various automatic and manual valves, an expansion vessel, buffer tanks to store the energy, a hot water cylinder for heating domestic hot water and a weather compensated control system to make it all work.
Advantages of Geothermal HVAC
- Better for the environment, as it is extracted from the earth without burning fossil fuels and produces low emissions.
- Available all year long because it doesn’t depend on wind or sun.
- More efficient, using up to 50% less electricity than traditional cooling or heating systems.
- Low maintenance and the systems can last for up to 20 years. Very little parts exposed to elements that would cause corrosion. System is indoors and in ground.
- Quiet. The process of heat exchange from above ground to below ground is silent. No loud air conditioner running in the summer or heater running in the winter.
- Reliable. They have fewer moving parts than many other alternative energy systems so less chance of malfunctions.
- Clean. No greenhouse gas emissions. No carbon dioxide released.
- Economical. Save on heating and cooling costs ongoing. Larger upfront cost but long last investment. Lowest power bills.
Using Smart Technology to Enhance Geothermal Energy
Over the past year, we’ve worked on a number of projects with CWL Group who are one of Australia’s leading and trusted providers of geothermal systems. CWL install incredible geothermal systems into homes, solving complex issues to deliver the best possible results for their clients. And we’ve further supported them in developing the best possible geothermal systems through the use of automation.
We’ve used our extensive experience and knowledge in automation and combined that with CWL’s expertise to fully automate geothermal systems in homes so they can run automatically without human interaction. Now, when in auto mode, our system takes periodic measurements of each area of the home and will adjust the heating or cooling to bring the rooms back to the predetermined perfect comfortable temperature. Whether that is through adjusting the discrete bulkhead fan coil units in the area, or the hydronic underfloor heating, the geothermal system works its renewable magic, and our automation system works its energy management magic. Our system also makes decisions based on other room conditions such as humidity and timber floorboard temperature. As well as HVAC, our automated geothermal systems provide the heating for domestic water, pools and spas.
Each project will vary slightly based on the varied needs of the site and the energy requirements. We custom build automation switchboards in our factory for each project. We also develop a custom app for each job using a KNX Logicmachine, to be displayed on a touchpanel onsite. This can be securely remotely accessed by Ryelec or CWL Group when necessary for maintenance. This custom app displays what is happening with the geothermal system, what the climate control is up to around the home, and other energy management related information. It is completely developed by Ryelec, using our Zenith graphics.
Geothermal is a powerful way to sustainably heat and cool a building. It is one of the top choices for those looking to minimise their power bills and their environmental footprint. If your budget allows, we highly recommend using a geothermal system for your home’s HVAC.