Validation of vertical ground heat exchanger design methodologies

Autores UPV
Revista Science and Technology for the Built Environment


This work presents a validation of two common methods for designing vertical ground heat exchangers. Both a simulation-based design tool and the ASHRAE handbook design equation are used to find design lengths for four different real systems, using actual experimental data, including building loads as well as physical parameters as inputs. The measured minimum and maximum ground heat exchanger exiting fluid temperatures were used as the design constraint. The simulation-based design tool predicted the borehole length to within 6% in all cases, while the ASHRAE handbook design equation yielded systems with errors from ¿21% to 167%. Most of this error can be explained by the way loads are represented in the ASHRAE handbook equation, with differences in the borehole thermal resistance also playing a smaller part. TheASHRAE handbook equation relies on a very simple load representation; although this allows it to be used as a simple hand calculation, it also precludes it achieving acceptable accuracy. It does not appear to be possible to revise the ASHRAE handbook equation so as to both significantly improve its accuracy and allow its use in a simple hand calculation.