Thermal Storage Heat Sink in ecosmart house
One of the unique concepts of this project is the installation of an experimental heat sink storage based on the Drake Landing Solar Community project in Canada in which 52 houses are part of a district geothermal community system. Each house has two thermal solar arrays that generate domestic hot water and 15 thermal panels for generating hot water for the community district wells. In the summer months, excess hot water is dumped back into the central thermal well field to regenerate heat in the field. Last winter, after two full years of dumping excess hot water in summer, the community was able to use the heat sink for more than 90% of its heating requirements.
The REHAU MONTANA ecosmart house will have three thermal solar panels for generation of the domestic hot water needs and supplemental use of the radiant heating demands. Once hot water needs are met, the excess hot water generated from the thermal solar panel in the summer will be dumped into a heat sink located on the southwest corner of the house buried 10 feet below the concrete deck of the front patio slab.
The heat sink is made up of four zones of one-inch REHAU PEX piping laid in runs of approximately 400 feet each, placed in a loop configuration on top of sheet foil insulation. The loop field will be encased in one foot of grout, scheduled and then the heat sink was backfilled with 98% compacted road mix base material within the ICF walls, and topped with rigid insulation prior to pouring the exposed concrete patio deck.
The heat sink has sensor monitors located at various heights as well as temperature and flow sensors to document the benefits of this concept and measure the contribution of the heating requirements for the winter months.