Simulation Study of the Energy Performance of Different Space Heating Methods in Plus-energy Housing

Jacob Schøtt, Mads E. Andersen, Ongun Berk Kazanci, Bjarne W. Olesen

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    Due to a shortage of energy resources, the focus on indoor environment and energy use in buildings is increasing which sets higher standards for the performance of HVAC systems in buildings. The variety of available heating systems for both residential buildings and office buildings is therefore increasing together with the performance of the systems.
    This paper reports the results of a simulation study carried out using the commercially available building simulation software IDA ICE. The considered house was designed as a plus-energy house and it was located in Denmark. The dynamic building simulation model has been validated and calibrated with measurement data from the house in a previous study. The studied systems were radiant floor heating, warm-air heating through ventilation system and radiator heating. The energy performance of systems for achieving the same thermal comfort was compared.
    The effects of several parameters on system energy performance for each space heating solution were investigated; floor covering resistance of the floor heating system, having a heat recovery on the exhaust in the ventilation system, and different working temperature levels for the radiator heating. For all cases the heat source was a natural gas fired condensing boiler, and for the floor heating cases also an air-to-water heat pump was used to compare two heat sources. The systems were also compared in terms of auxiliary energy use for pumps and fans.
    The results show that the investigated floor heating systems had the best performance in terms of energy with a total energy saving of 23% compared to warm-air heating with heat recovery. It can furthermore be coupled to other heat sources than a boiler. The floor covering resistance of the floor heating system should be kept to a minimum to fully benefit from the low temperature heating potential since an increased floor covering requires higher average water temperatures in the floor loops and decreases the COP of the heat pump. The water-based heating systems required significantly less auxiliary energy input compared to the air-based heating system.
    Furthermore, the results show that low temperature heating systems, as seen in floor heating in this study, can contribute to achieving plus-energy targets by minimizing the energy use for space heating purposes while achieving necessary thermal comfort for the occupants.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationCLIMA 2016 - Proceedings of the 12th REHVA World Congress
    EditorsPer Kvols Heiselberg
    Number of pages9
    Publication date2016
    ISBN (Print)87-91606-36-5
    Publication statusPublished - 2016
    Event12th REHVA World Congress - Aalborg, Denmark
    Duration: 22 May 201625 May 2016


    Conference12th REHVA World Congress
    Internet address


    • Floor heating
    • Warm-air heating
    • Radiator heating
    • Plus-energy house


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