Energy and Buildings 61 (2013) 39–50
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Energy and Buildings
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/enbuild
A passive design strategy for a horizontal ground source heat pump pipe operation optimization with a nonhomogeneous soil proﬁle
Amir RezaeiBazkiaei ^{a}^{,}^{∗} , Ehsan DehghanNiri ^{c} , Ebrahim M. Kolahdouz ^{b} , A. Scott Weber ^{a} , Gary F. Dargush ^{b}
^{a} Department of Civil, Structural & Environmental Engineering, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY 14260, United States
^{b} Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY 14260, United States
^{c} Smart Structures Research Lab, Department of Civil, Structural & Environmental Engineering, University at Buffalo, NY 14260, United States
a r t i c
l e
i n f o
Article history:
Received 30 August 2012 Received in revised form 4 January 2013 Accepted 29 January 2013
Keywords:
Horizontal ground source heat pump Tire Derived Aggregate Nonhomogeneous soil Optimization Genetic algorithm Energy efﬁciency Control
a b s t r a c t
The effectiveness of a nonhomogeneous soil proﬁle for horizontal ground source heat pumps (GSHPs), deﬁned as natural backﬁll with an intermediate layer of material having different thermal character istics, is investigated. Steps toward development of a comprehensive model to consider the effects of the nonhomogeneous layer are described. The developed model is utilized successfully in conjunction with a genetic algorithm (GA) search method to obtain the optimized operational parameters for a GSHP in three different climate conditions. A properly sized and engineered nonhomogeneous soil proﬁle demonstrated the potential to increase the energy extraction/dissipation rates from/to the ground to a signiﬁcant level. The potential beneﬁt of a recycled product, Tire Derived Aggregate (TDA), as an insu lating nonhomogeneous layer is assessed. TDA is demonstrated to be more effective in the cold climate (Buffalo) by increasing the energy extraction rates from the ground approximately 15% annually. TDA’s effectiveness is less pronounced in a relatively moderate climate (Dallas) by increasing the energy extrac tion rates from the ground about 4% annually. For the cooling only scenario (Miami), a high conductive intermediate layer of saturated sand exhibited greater potential to increase the energy dissipation to the ground.
Published by Elsevier B.V.
1. Introduction
Building energy consumption comprises a considerable portion of every nation’s energy budget. Within the energy consuming items in buildings, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) accounts for a majority of energy demand. The reputation of ground source heat pumps (GSHPs) in harnessing the Earth’s clean energy with high performance coefﬁcients combined with the technologi cal advances in the HVAC industry has introduced these systems as one of the promising technologies to reduce building energy consumption. Every GSHP consists of two main parts: the ground side and the heat pump inside the building. The ground side, also referred to as the heat source/sink, consists of the ground pipe
^{∗} Corresponding author at: 204 Jarvis Hall, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY 14260, United States. Tel.: +1 716 380 5255; fax: +1 716 645 2549. Email addresses: ar92@buffalo.edu, amir rezaee engv@yahoo.com
(A. RezaeiBazkiaei), ehsandeh@buffalo.edu (E. DehghanNiri), mkolahdo@buffalo.edu (E.M. Kolahdouz), sweber@buffalo.edu (A.S. Weber), gdargush@buffalo.edu (G.F. Dargush).
03787788/$ – see front matter. Published by Elsevier B.V.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.enbuild.2013.01.040
network and the circulating pump. The heat pump unit itself con sists of subunits which handle the thermodynamic relationships between the working ﬂuid and the load side (indoor air or Domestic Hot Water (DHW) network); compressor, condenser, evaporator, the expansion device and blower fans or circulating DHW pumps. The working ﬂuid ﬂows through the ground pipes and exchanges heat with the surrounding soil medium where it gains/loses heat in heating/cooling modes, respectively. The ﬂuid at the outlet of the ground pipe enters the heat pump where the thermodynamic cycle of the heat exchange between the working ﬂuid and the refrigerant is responsible for heat delivery or dissipation in heating and cooling modes, respectively. A successful design of GSHP involves careful selection and sizing of both the ground side and the indoor unit so that heating/cooling loads are met yearround with the least waste heat/electricity inventory. This selection process usually involves employment of simplifying engineering assumptions. For example, one of the most wellknown ground pipe sizing semiempirical for mulas is based on the concept of thermal resistance calculation for the soil, pipe and working ﬂuid [1]. Resistance factor calculation is based on the line source theory, which assumes a constant source of heat propagates continuously through the soil medium of interest.
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A. RezaeiBazkiaei et al. / Energy and Buildings 61 (2013) 39–50
This assumption, while not completely representative of ground pipe operation, is assumed to be within reasonable range of error for engineering practice. A heating/cooling load budget analysis for a prospect building via accepted methods, such as the bin method or, more popular, well accepted dynamic thermal load simulation software such as Energy+and eQuest, is the GSHP design start point. The calculated peak load data is subsequently used to size and design the GSHP system. Even with the dynamic software tools, the design for the capacity of the heat pump equipment is usually based on the peak load (worst case scenario) conditions that is oversized in many cases. Moreover, most ground source heat pump design methods usually consider a constant source/sink strength (ground temper ature) based on the maximum and minimum observed data or semiexperimental formulas [1]. These assumptions do not capture the dynamic variation of the boundary conditions and the time variable nature of the system functionality. The historical approach in design methods yield operational values for heating and ventila tion systems that stray from the least waste energy path. This has made the dynamic, realtime analysis of GSHPs the focus of several recent research studies [2–4]. An essential part of the GSHP design, after selection of the pipe length and size, is the proper selection of the working ﬂuid temperature range as it is pumped back into the ground. The Inter national Ground Source Heat Pump Association (IGSHPA) suggests an approach that relates the inlet water temperature to the heat pump to maximum, minimum and average ambient air tempera tures. It is the responsibility of the designer to select the appropriate optimal entering water temperature to the heat pump that guaran tees efﬁcient performance. Given the complexities of an accurate building load evaluation including users consumption habits, level of building insulation, changes in occupancy, and sudden climatic changes that are far different from the long term statistical design year data, etc., and its causal relationship with the GSHP system units, the optimization of the overall performance of a GSHP is a challenge. Compounding the problem is the fact that ground char acteristics vary in different regions to make it more challenging to track the dynamic building load demand and keep the heat ing/conditioning process as optimized as possible. Because the absence of design experience can cause a wide deviation from the optimized cost and operation path, the optimization algorithm pro posed in this study aims at providing the designers of the GSHPs with beneﬁcial information regarding the GSHP design. Strategies to control the capacity of GSHP systems to match the building energy demand emerged as a response to the large energy consumption rates in buildings [5]. The capacity control practices explore options to satisfy building load requirements and minimize the waste energy in the heating/conditioning process. Capacity con trol usually involves either the control on the components of a GSHP system (e.g. the compressor, condenser, ground pipes, etc.) or a change in design conﬁgurations for different seasons or advanced control algorithms [6]. The correlations between different units of a GSHP are quite complex and changes in characteristics of one unit with time affect the overall performance of the system. Introduc tion of the building properties and its dynamic energy requirements will add to the complexity of the nearoptimal energy delivery goal [7–9], especially when integrated building energy solutions [10,11] or nonconventional HVAC designs [12,13] are involved, or the system performance goals require a close examination of the interactions between the building and the HVAC systems [14]. Researchers have attempted to model these complexities by dynamically tracking the interactions between these units via widely accepted building energy modeling softwares [2,15,16] or in combination with thermodynamic data base models such as EES [3] or by self developed programs [17,18]. The general struc ture of such models consists of ﬁrsttier models (e.g. ground pipe
and heat pump), which each have submodels of secondtier (e.g. compressor, evaporator, etc.) with higher details. The functional relationship between the submodels is constructed via operational parameters, such as water/brine and refrigerant ﬂow rates [19,20]. The level of complexity of these submodels signiﬁcantly depends on the purpose of the modeling effort [6]. Although numerous studies have aimed at controlling the heat pump side of a GSHP system, a much smaller number have focused on design methods for the ground side characteristics. Ground related work is usually associated with additional capital invest ment that has retarded exploration of design options in the ground compared to the heat pump unit inside the building. Previous research results suggest that utilization of a nonhomogeneous system above the pipe burial depth might be worth more atten tion [21]. Based on the results from a comprehensive horizontal ground pipe model calibrated to a set of ﬁeld data from a mild climate, the nonhomogeneous soil proﬁle demonstrated the potential to increase the energy extraction rates from the ground by approximately 17%, in a peak heating month, compared to the homogeneous soil proﬁle [21]. This research is focused on the analysis of the GSHP system performance optimization via control on the source/sink (ground) side. The following simple semiempirical equations for the enter ing water temperature to the pump in heating and cooling seasons were adopted from the International Ground Dource Heat Pump Association (IGSHPA) design manual [1] to make the link between the ground pipe and the heat pump side of the GSHP system:
^{T} f,i _{h} ^{=} ^{T} f,i _{m}_{i}_{n} ^{+}
^{T} f,i _{m}_{e}_{a}_{n} ^{−} ^{T} f,i _{m}_{i}_{n}
_{T} airmean _{−} _{T} airmin ^{(}^{T} airmax ^{−} ^{T} air ^{)}
^{T} f,i _{c} ^{=} ^{T} f,i _{m}_{e}_{a}_{n} ^{+}
^{T} f,i max ^{−} ^{T} f,i mean
_{T} airmax _{−} _{T} airmean ^{(}^{T} air ^{−} ^{T} airmean ^{)}
^{(}^{1}^{)}
^{(}^{2}^{)}
where T _{f}_{,}_{i} _{h} is the entering water temperature to the ground in heat ing mode, T _{f}_{,}_{i} _{c} is the entering water temperature to the ground in cooling mode, T _{f}_{,}_{i} _{m}_{i}_{n} is the minimum design entering water tem perature in heating, T _{f}_{,}_{i} _{m}_{e}_{a}_{n} is the average design entering water temperature in heating or cooling, T _{f}_{,}_{i} _{m}_{a}_{x} is the maximum design entering water temperature in cooling, T _{a}_{i}_{r}_{m}_{e}_{a}_{n} is the average annual ambient air temperature, T _{a}_{i}_{r}_{m}_{i}_{n} is the minimum annual ambient air temperature, T _{a}_{i}_{r}_{m}_{a}_{x} is the maximum annual ambi ent air temperature, and T _{a}_{i}_{r} is the air temperature at the time of simulation. The model employed for characteristic analysis of ground pipes comprises a comprehensive surface energy balance model, which is capable of solving for the temperature distribution of the entire soil proﬁle to obtain the outlet water temperature from the ground pipes. A detailed description of the surface energy balance equa tions, parameters and the solution methods has been presented in material and methods section. The developed model was utilized to investigate the potential beneﬁts of a nonhomogeneous soil proﬁle on the ground side performance. Tire Derived Aggregate (TDA) has been proposed as an intermediate layer in the nonhomogeneous system [21]. TDA mainly consists of chopped pieces of used tires in a variety of nom inal sizes ranging from 1 to above 5 in. [22]. The idea to employ TDA, also referred to as tire chips, tire shreds, and tire mulch, in civil engineering applications was ﬁrst initiated by Humphrey [23]. New applications for TDA, mostly in civil engineering, have been proposed based on its unique physical characteristics. TDA’s rel atively low density compared to conventional backﬁll makes it a viable alternative ﬁll material, where a lighter ﬁll material is desired in construction [24]. Its low thermal conductivity was the driv ing force for utilizing TDA as an alternative insulation material in road base insulation and some agricultural applications to modu late temperature ﬂuctuation on the soil surface [22,23,25]. Several
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Table 1 TDA thermal and physical properties in literature.
Material [reference] 
Thermal 
Speciﬁc 
Density (kg m ^{−}^{3} ) 

conductivity 
heat 

_{(}_{W} 
_{m} −1 ◦ _{C} −1 _{)} 
_{(}_{J} 
_{k}_{g} −1 ◦ _{C} −1 _{)} 

TDA (2in. nominal) [22] TDA (1in. nominal) [25] TDA (2–12in.) [26] TDA (2in. nominal) [27] 
0.149–0.164 
NA 
513 

NA 
NA 
1060–1100 

0.29 
1.15 
720 

0.564 
507 
641 
NA: Not available.
studies in the literature have reported on the thermal and physical properties of TDA [22,26,27] and these are presented in Table 1.
A thermal conductivity value of 0.29 W m ^{−}^{1} ^{◦} C ^{−}^{1} , speciﬁc heat of
500 J kg ^{−}^{1} ^{◦} C ^{−}^{1} and density of 720 kg m ^{−}^{3} were chosen as represen tative properties of TDA material for the purpose of the analyses
in this paper. In this work, TDA was compared to other potential
materials for their applicability as the nonhomogeneous layer. The overall goal of this research was to determine a GSHP design that optimizes energy savings by utilizing an evolutionary algo rithm to evaluate different materials for use as the intermediate layer. The optimization was carried out for the same pipe charac teristics, but different climatic conditions to evaluate the effects of climatic conditions on the optimized parameters.
2. Materials and methods
2.1. Surface energies
The surface boundary condition takes into account the effects
of energy balance due to a variety of mechanisms responsible for
surface–ambient heat interaction. The total energy balance on the
ground surface (Q _{t} , W) can be written in rate form as [28,29]:
Q _{t} = Q _{c} + Q _{e} + Q _{h} + Q _{l}_{e} + Q _{l}_{i} + Q _{s}_{i} + Q _{p}
(3)
where Q _{c} is the conduction heat ﬂux through snow layer or ground
surface (W), Q _{e} is the turbulent exchange of latent heat (W), Q _{h}
is the turbulent exchange of sensible heat (W), Q _{l}_{e} is the emitted
longwave radiation heat ﬂux (W), Q _{l}_{i} is the incoming long wave radiation (W), Q _{s}_{i} is the solar radiation reaching the surface of earth (W), and Q _{p} is the heat ﬂux due to precipitation (W). Heat conduction through the snow and ground layers can be written as [29]:
Q _{c} = −(T _{s}_{0} − T _{b} )
z
s
K s
K g ^{} −1
+ ^{z} ^{g}
(4)
where T _{s}_{0} is the snow surface or ground surface temperature depending on whether the surface is covered with snow or not, T _{b} is the ground temperature at the bottom of topsoil layer (thick ness of ﬁrst discretization element in y direction, y), z _{s} and z _{g} are the thicknesses of snow and the top layer of soil ( y), respectively. K _{s} and K _{g} (W m ^{−}^{1} K ^{−}^{1} ) are the thermal conductivities of the snow and soil layers respectively. Turbulent exchange of sensible and latent heat, Q _{h} and Q _{e} are given as [28,29]:
Q _{h} = _{a} C _{p}_{,}_{a} D _{h} (T _{a} − T _{s}_{0} )
Q _{e} = _{a} L _{s} D _{e} 0.622 ^{e} ^{a} ^{−} ^{e} ^{s}^{0}
P a
(5)
(6)
The exchange coefﬁcients for sensible and latent heat, D _{h} and D _{e} , and the stability function are deﬁned as follows:
D _{e} = D _{h} =
^{} ^{2} ^{U} ^{s} 0 ) _{2}
(ln z/z
(7)
=
1
1 + 10R _{i}
^{(}^{8}^{)}
where _{a} is the air density equal to 1.275 kg m ^{−}^{3} , C _{p}_{,}_{a} is the speciﬁc
heat of air assumed to be 1000 J kg ^{−}^{1} K ^{−}^{1} , T _{a} is the air temperature (K), e _{s}_{0} is the surface vapor pressure (Pa), e _{a} is the atmospheric vapor pressure (Pa), P _{a} is the atmospheric pressure (Pa), L _{s} is the latent heat of sublimation of snow (J kg ^{−}^{1} ), is the Von Karman’s constant, U _{s} is the wind speed (m s ^{−}^{1} ) at reference height z (m), and z _{o} is the roughness length set to 0.5 m. The Richardson number, R _{i} , is deﬁned as:
_{R}
i _{=} gz(T _{a} − T _{s}_{0} )
2
z
T _{a} U
(9)
where g is the gravitational acceleration (m s ^{−}^{2} ), and U _{z} is the wind speed at the elevation z relative to reference height z _{0} . The emitted longwave radiation, Q _{l}_{e} , was given by:
(10)
Q _{l}_{e} = _{s} (T _{s}_{0} ) ^{4}
where _{s} is the soil surface emissivity assumed to be equal to 0.98, and is the Stefan Boltzman constant equal to 5.6704 × 10 ^{−}^{8}
(W m ^{−}^{2} K ^{−}^{4} ).
The incoming longwave radiation was given by the empirical description [30].
(11)
Q _{l}_{i} = 1.08(1 − e ^{−}^{(}^{0}^{.}^{0}^{1}^{e} ^{a} ^{)} ^{T} ^{a} ^{/}^{2}^{0}^{1}^{6} ) (T _{a} ) ^{4}
log _{1}_{0} e _{a} =
11.40 − ^{2}^{3}^{5}^{3}
^{T} dp
(12)
where T _{d}_{p} is the daily dewpoint temperature (K). The incident solar radiation reaching earth’s surface can be described as follows:
(13)
where S _{m} is the mean annual solar radiation (W m ^{−}^{2} ), S _{a} is the amplitude of surface solar radiation (W m ^{−}^{2} ), w is the angular velocity (rad), and _{1} is the phase angle (rad). Heat ﬂux due to precipitation can be written as [31]:
(14)
where I _{R} is the rain intensity (kg m ^{−}^{2} s), and C _{p}_{,}_{w} is the speciﬁc heat of water assumed to be equal to 4186 J kg ^{−}^{1} K ^{−}^{1} . As some of the energy equations are a function of the surface temperature of the solution domain that need to be numerically solved, utilization of an iterative method was necessary. The surface energy equations, which are obtained from the daily meteorological data, were solved for the unknown surface temperature values, T _{s}_{0} , using the Newton–Raphson method. This iterative scheme solves for temperature values on the surface using Eq. (15):
Q _{p} = I _{R} C _{p}_{,}_{w} (T _{a} − T _{s}_{0} )
Q _{s}_{i} = (1 − Albedo)[S _{m} + S _{a} Re(exp(iwt + _{1} ))]
n+1
T
s0
= T s0 ^{−} ^{f} ^{(}^{T} ^{s}^{0} ^{)}
n
f
^{} (T _{s}_{0} _{)}
(15)
where f(T _{s}_{0} ) takes the following form:
f (T _{s}_{0} ) = Q _{c} (T _{s}_{0} ) +
Q _{e} (T _{s}_{0} ) + Q _{h} (T _{s}_{0} ) + Q _{l}_{e} (T _{s}_{0} ) + Q _{l}_{i} (T _{s}_{0} ) + Q _{s}_{i} (T _{s}_{0} )
+ Q _{p} (T _{s}_{0} ) = 0 
(16) 

The 
iteration 
continues 
until 
the 
temperature 
difference 
between two consecutive iterations becomes less than 0.1 ^{◦} C.
2.2. Ground pipe modeling
The ground pipe conﬁguration employed in this research con sists of a horizontal pipe with a total length of 61 m (L) and 1.9 cm diameter, 3 m distance between inlet and outlet, buried at the depth of 2 m, with the working ﬂuid ﬂow rate of 0.19 kg s ^{−}^{1} , as depicted in
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A. RezaeiBazkiaei et al. / Energy and Buildings 61 (2013) 39–50
Fig. 1. Conﬁguration of the ground pipe and soil layer (not scaled).
Fig. 1. These design characteristics belong to an experimental test room in Buffalo, NY, with an approximate heating load of 1.5 kW, heated and conditioned with the speciﬁed horizontal GSHP, that is under investigation by these authors. Assuming there is no ther mal interaction between pipes, the solution domain (detailed in Fig. 2) was considered to be from the center line of the pipe to the midspan of the distance between pipes (1.5 m), in the xdirection, and from ground surface to the farﬁeld (5 m) in the ydirection. The ground pipe is buried at the mesh level j _{p}_{i}_{p}_{e} , as indicated in Fig. 2. Soil thermal conductivity (K _{s} ) and thermal diffusivity (˛ _{s} ) were selected based on the soil and rock classiﬁcation guideline [32] to be equal to 1.67 W m ^{−}^{1} K ^{−}^{1} and 66 × 10 ^{−}^{8} m ^{2} s ^{−}^{1} , respec tively. For the sake of comparison, this ground pipe physical setting and the original soil properties were assumed to be identical for all the regions simulated in this paper. A comprehensive study of the impact of geographical variation of the soil properties has not been the focus of this study and is the subject of authors’ future work. To account for the threedimensional behavior of the pipe and the surrounding soil, the effect of the working ﬂuid ﬂow rate was considered along the pipe direction. The third dimension of the
Fig. 3. Schematic of slices of 3D domain in pipe direction (not scaled).
problem was modeled by splitting the physical domain in the pipe direction into a series of crosssections (slices) of the soil proﬁle for each time step, including the nodal temperature of the ﬂuid at the pipe’s location. Fig. 3 shows how the slices are spaced in the pipe direction to cover the temperature distribution of the entire 3D domain. At each time step, the nodal temperatures of each cross section were obtained and subsequently updated for the next slice along the pipe’s length to achieve a temperature distribution of soil and ﬂuid at the end of the pipe (L). The same process was repeated for the next time steps until the end of the simulation time.
3. Numerical algorithm
The threedimensional temperature distribution in the soil media was modeled by solving the governing heat conduction equation and incorporating the heat ﬂow rate forced by the circu lating water. The temperature gradient in the pipe material is small enough to be neglected allowing the heat equation to be solved in
Fig. 2. Schematic of the solution domain mesh showing the relative size of the mesh grid and pipe diameter (scaled).
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43
a twodimensional geometry by inclusion of the ﬂuid temperature in the domain [33]. The governing thermal diffusion equation:
1 ∂T (x, y, t) _{=} ∂ ^{2} T (x, y, t) _{+} ∂ ^{2} T (x, y, t)
˛
∂t
∂x ^{2}
∂y ^{2}
(17)
was solved for the entire domain in twodimensions for the pure heat conduction ﬁrst, and the solution was then updated along the pipe’s length to obtain the solution in three dimensions. In Eq. (17), ˛ is the thermal diffusivity of the medium through which heat travels. The output water temperature equation along the pipe direction, calculated based on the analytical solution for the energy balance between surrounding soil medium and pipe [34], constructs the link between the ﬂuid and the soil temperature in the model. Thus,
T _{f}_{,}_{o}_{u}_{t} = T _{s} − (T _{s} − T _{f}_{,}_{i} ) · exp − _{m}_{C}_{˙}
p,f
K
s
L
(18)
where T _{f}_{,}_{o}_{u}_{t} is the ﬂuid temperature exiting a pipe of length L (m), T _{s} is the surrounding soil temperature, T _{f}_{,}_{i} is the initial water temperature entering the pipe, K _{s} is the soil thermal conductivity (W m ^{−}^{1} ^{◦} C ^{−}^{1} ), m˙ is the mass ﬂow rate (kg s ^{−}^{1} ) and C _{p}_{,}_{f} is the speciﬁc heat of the working ﬂuid (J kg ^{−}^{1} ^{◦} C ^{−}^{1} ). Boundary and initial conditions for the solution domain are described as follows:
T _{i} = T (x, y),
t = 0
∂T
∂x
∂T
∂x
0,
= x = x _{m}_{a}_{x}
= 0,
x = 0
Q _{t}
T (y, t) = T (y, t) _{K}_{u}_{s}_{u}_{d}_{a} ,
(W/m ^{2} ),
y = 0
y = y _{m}_{a}_{x}
while the initial temperature distribution of the soil proﬁle (T _{i} ) was obtained from the Kusuda model [35]:
T (y, t) _{K}_{u}_{s}_{u}_{d}_{a} = T _{a}_{v}_{g} + T _{a}_{m}_{p} e ^{−}^{y} √ ^{} ^{/}^{˛} ^{s} ^{P} cos _{2} _{}
P ^{−} ^{y}
t
_{P}
˛
s
(19)
where T _{a}_{v}_{g} is the average annual surface temperature, T _{a}_{m}_{p} is the amplitude of ﬂuctuation of the annual surface temperature, y is the depth from ground surface (m), ˛ _{s} is soil thermal diffusivity (m ^{2} s ^{−}^{1} ), P is the duration of a year in seconds, and t is the time of the year in seconds. The second partial derivative of temperature in xdirection was written with a central difference scheme:
∂ ^{2} T ∂x
^{2}

^{n}
(i,j) ^{=}
T
n
i−1,j ^{−} ^{2}^{T} i,j ^{+} ^{T} i+1,j
n
n
(
x) ^{2}
+ O( x) ^{2} ≈
T
n
i−1,j ^{−} ^{2}^{T} i,j ^{+} ^{T} i+1,j
n
n
(
x) ^{2}
2
= ^{ı} x) _{2}
x
T
n
(
(20)
where
ı
Using the same discretization for the ydirection and a forward difference to represent the time derivative, the governing heat equation therefore can be expressed in terms of nodal temperature values in explicit form as follows:
^{(}^{2}^{1}^{)}
2
x ^{T} ^{=} ^{T} i−1,j ^{−} ^{2}^{T} i,j ^{+} ^{T} i+1,j
_{T} n+1 _{−} _{T} n
t
^{=} ^{˛}
2
( x) ^{2} ^{+} ( y) ^{2}
ı
2
x
T
^{n}
ı
y
T ^{n}
(22)
Next, a scheme was selected to sequence through time. As depicted in Fig. 4, the solution domain was discretized in n _{x} +1
Fig. 4. Two dimensional grid of the solution domain [21].
nodes in x and n _{y} + 1 nodes in the ydirection, of which inner domain was used to solve for the temperature distribution of each cross section of the physical domain. The nodes on the boundary were separated to force boundary conditions in x and y direction. A fully explicit ﬁnite difference solution scheme was employed to solve for temperature distribution of the solution domain. The model was constructed in MATLAB. Time steps of 1800 s and space discretization of x = y = 0.1 m were chosen, based on a stability analysis of the model undertaken in a previous work [21]. Fully explicit ﬁnite difference formulation of the heat conduc tion equation takes the form:
T
n+1
i,j
− T _{i}_{,}_{j} = r(T
n
n
i−1,j ^{−} ^{2}^{T} i,j ^{+} ^{T}
n
i+1,j ^{)} ^{+} ^{r}^{(}^{T}
n
n
i,j−1 ^{−} ^{2}^{T} i,j ^{+} ^{T}
n
n
i,j+1 ^{)}
where x= y
_{r} x _{=}
˛ t x) ^{2} ^{,}
(
^{r} ^{y} ^{=}
^{˛} ^{} ^{t} y) _{2} ,
(
r _{x} = r _{y} = r
^{(}^{2}^{3}^{)}
(24)
After rearrangement, the explicit equation will take the form:
T
n+1
i,j
= rT
n
i−1,j ^{+} ^{r}^{T} i+1,j ^{+} ^{r}^{T} i,j−1 ^{+} ^{r}^{T}
n
n
_{i}_{,}_{j}_{+}_{1} + (1 − 4r)T _{i}_{,}_{j}
n
n
(25)
Once the homogeneous case formulation was performed, the
next step was adjustments to the difference equations to take into account the effects of the internal boundary conditions on the top and bottom of the intermediate layer. To meet the temperature and ﬂux conditions on the internal boundaries, the energy balance on the interfacial nodes of intermediate layer and soil was obtained by writing the nodal ﬂuxes and the energy storage term for the control volume around each node. Fig. 5 depicts the energy balance for a node on the top and bottom of the intermediate layer interface, the control volume around the node, and the heat ﬂuxes involved. The resulting energy balance is written:
q _{1} + q _{3} − q _{2} − q _{4} = ( C _{p} ) _{a}_{v}_{g} · x · y ^{∂}^{T} ^{i}^{,}^{j} ,
∂t
where
_{(}
_{} _{C} p _{)} avg _{=} ( C _{p} ) _{s} + ( C _{p} ) _{i}_{n}_{t}_{.}
2
_{,}
_{K} avg _{=} ^{K} s ^{+} ^{K} int.
2
(26)
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Fig. 5. The intermediate layer top and bottom interfaces energy balance [21].
and the resulting values of heat ﬂuxes are described as follows:
q _{1} = K avg ·
T
n
i−1,j ^{−} ^{T} i,j
n
_{} _{x}
·
y
q _{2} = K avg ·
T
n
i+1,j ^{−} ^{T} i,j
n
_{} _{x}
·
q _{3} =
K _{s} ·
T
n
i,j−1 ^{−} ^{T} i,j
n
y
· x
y
^{q} 4 ^{=} ^{K} int. ^{·}
T
n
i,j+1 ^{−} ^{T} i,j
n
y
·
x
(27)
(28)
(29)
(30)
Substituting the ﬂux equations (27)–(30) into the energy balance equation and rearranging the equations results in the intro duction of the following new parameters in the difference equation:
^{r} AVG ^{=}
K
^{a}^{v}^{g}
t
_{·}
(
C _{p} ) _{a}_{v}_{g}
r _{S} =
( x) ^{2} ^{,}
^{K}
^{s}
_{·}
(
_{r} _{T} _{=}
t
( C _{p} ) _{a}_{v}_{g}
x) ^{2}
^{K}
int.
t
_{·}
(
C _{p} ) _{a}_{v}_{g}
(
x) ^{2} ^{,}
(31)
where K _{a}_{v}_{g} is the average of the soil and the intermediate layer thermal conductivity (W m ^{−}^{1} ^{◦} C ^{−}^{1} ), K _{i}_{n}_{t}_{.} is the intermediate layer thermal conductivity (W m ^{−}^{1} ^{◦} C ^{−}^{1} ), and K _{s} is the soil thermal con ductivity (W m ^{−}^{1} ^{◦} C ^{−}^{1} ). The r _{A}_{V}_{G} , r _{T} and r _{S} are the parameters deﬁned to express the ﬁnite difference formula for the energy bal ance on top and bottom of the intermediate layer. The difference formulas obtained previously for the explicit method were revised to account for the heat ﬂux through the TDA top and bottom layers resulting in the relations:
TDA top layer:
_{T} n+1
i,j
=
r AVG T i−1,j ^{+} ^{r} ^{A}^{V}^{G} ^{T} i+1,j ^{+} ^{r} ^{S} ^{T} i,j−1 ^{+} ^{r} ^{T} ^{T} i,j+1
n
n
n
n
n
+ (1 − 2r _{A}_{V}_{G} − r _{S} − r _{T} )T _{i}_{,}_{j}
TDA bottom layer:
_{T} n+1
i,j
=
r AVG T i−1,j ^{+} ^{r} ^{A}^{V}^{G} ^{T} i+1,j ^{+} ^{r} ^{T} ^{T} i,j−1 ^{+} ^{r} ^{S} ^{T} i,j+1
n
n
n
n
n
+ (1 − 2r _{A}_{V}_{G} − r _{S} − r _{T} )T _{i}_{,}_{j}
(32)
(33)
4. Optimization algorithm
A genetic algorithm (GA) optimization scheme was used to obtain the operational parameters of a horizontal GSHP that maxi mizes energy extraction/dissipation rates from/to the ground. The main advantage of GA over traditional optimization algorithms for this work is that it does not require and does not depend on gradient information of the objective function; instead it uses a popula tion of design points and randomly utilizes information from each generation to the subsequent one to search for the parameters that optimize the objective function. The optimization variables deﬁne the characteristics (genes) of each design point in the ini tial pool (population) of the design points. The information about each design point is compared to other ones in the pool to trans fer information to the next set of design points (next generation). The reproduction of new set of design alternatives with updated variables continues for a number of times (generations) to achieve the set of variables that yield the optimal results. The speciﬁcations of the GA implementation for this work are listed in Table 2. More
Table 2
Genetic algorithm terminology and deﬁnitions.
Population size 
Number of individuals that are evaluated in each 
Generation 
generation. At each iteration, the genetic algorithm runs the core ﬁnite difference ground pipe model with the selected variables from the current population to produce a new population of possible input variables (500, per each generation in this paper) Each successive population of possible set of input 
Crossover 
variables is called a new generation (50, in this paper) GA’s operation used to vary the programming of a 
Mutation 
chromosome or chromosomes from one generation of input variables to the next GA’s operation used to maintain genetic diversity from one 
Elitism 
generation of a population of input variables to the next. This operator is needed to avoid the search algorithm get trapped in a local optimum design GA’s mechanism that ensures that the highly ﬁtted 
Migration 
individuals of the population of input variables are passed on to the next generation without being altered by GA’s operators. Using elitism ensures that the best input variables of the population can never be altered from one generation to the next. This operator increases the rate of convergence to the optimal point The migration algorithm partitions a population of selected variables by the algorithm into a set of subpopulations and shares information between these subpopulations 
A. RezaeiBazkiaei et al. / Energy and Buildings 61 (2013) 39–50
Table 3 Working ﬂuid properties selected from the IGSHPA guideline [1].
45
Index number 
Fluid 
Thermal conductivity 
Speciﬁc heat 
Density 
Dynamic viscosity 

(W 
m ^{−}^{1} ^{◦} C ^{−}^{1} ) 
(J 
kg ^{−}^{1} ^{◦} C ^{−}^{1} ) 
(kg m ^{−}^{3} ) 
(kg m ^{−}^{1} s ^{−}^{1} ) × 10 ^{−}^{3} 

1 
Water 
0.6 
4183 
998.3 
1 

2 
6% propyleneglycol and water 
0.476 
4140 
1010 
1.5 

3 
13% propyleneglycol and water 
0.432 
4100 
1010 
1.9 

4 
18% propyleneglycol and water 
0.408 
4060 
1020 
3 

5 
24% propyleneglycol and water 
0.389 
4020 
1020 
6.3 
information about GA optimization and illustrative examples can be found in [36,37]. Designers often use past experience to select the “best” heat pump design that satisﬁes the energy needs of the building during different seasons. Given that the common design practice is based on peak load design, GSHP designs are inclined to be far from the optimized scenario to meet the realtime heating loads in a build ing. Several researchers in the building energy and heat transfer literature have come to the conclusion that optimization schemes can beneﬁt the design process where the effects of the climatic conditions are meant to be closely considered in an efﬁcient design process [38–40]. In their comprehensive work on vertical [38] and horizontal [39] ground source heat pumps, Sanaye and Niroomand modeled the thermodynamic cycle of the heat pump in conjunction with the thermal resistance pipe model to obtain the optimized operational parameters. Sayyaadi and Amlashi performed a simi lar study via exergy analysis of a vertical ground source heat pump
[40].
In the present work, a genetic algorithm (GA) optimization scheme was designed to obtain the optimum values of the inter mediate layer conﬁguration (thickness and position), working ﬂuid type, and inlet ﬂuid temperature ranges. The results of the simula tion provide insights on the beneﬁts returned from the introduction of an intermediate layer on the performance of a GSHP throughout the year. The model outputs help elucidate the optimal proper ties and conﬁguration of the intermediate layer and the optimal entering water temperatures to the ground throughout the year to achieve the maximum energy extraction/dissipation rates from/to the ground. The ultimate motivation behind the analysis is to deter mine whether the operating parameters for different months of the year are in a range that conﬁrms the beneﬁts of a capacity control strategy or a set of selected operational parameters can be used for all months without deviating from the optimized monthly values. Seven input variables (decision variables) were chosen to feed the core ﬁnite difference model in each run of the GA. These inputs comprise working ﬂuid properties, minimum, mean and maxi mum entering water temperature values, the intermediate layer thickness, position and thermal properties. To let the evolution ary algorithm search in a broader spectrum of potential designs, the algorithm was allowed to choose between a range of practi cal working ﬂuid properties (Table 3) and also a range of common soil properties applicable to the development of ground source heat pump works (Table 4). Selection of these values for the work ing ﬂuid properties and common range of soil properties for the GSHP application were based on the information published in the
guidelines [1,32], respectively. TDA thermal properties were listed as one of the intermediate layer choices that GA can choose from in each run. The genetic search algorithm selects from the list of pro vided input parameters, based on the GA options deﬁned in Table 2, then uses these input variables to run the core ﬁnite difference model that results in calculation of the outlet ﬂuid temperatures from the ground pipe. The outlet ﬂuid temperature values were subsequently used to calculate the energy extraction/dissipation rates based on the relation:
˙
E _{g}_{r}_{o}_{u}_{n}_{d} = m˙ · C _{p}_{,}_{f} · (T
avg
out
− T
avg
in
)
(34)
where the time averaged values of outlet (T
)
working ﬂuid temperatures for the simulation period (monthly or seasonal) were used to calculate the energy extraction/dissipation rates in heating/cooling modes. m˙ is the working ﬂuid mass ﬂow rate (kg s ^{−}^{1} ). The heat pump work rate was calculated as follows:
avg
out
avg
) and inlet (T
in
˙ m˙ · P
_{E} pump _{=}
· pump
(35)
where P is the pressure drop in the ground pipe, calculated based on the friction factor and Reynolds number described in [41], and _{p}_{u}_{m}_{p} is the pump efﬁciency (assumed 85% for a constant speed pump in this study). The objective function used in the simulation was calculated as reciprocal of the difference between the ground energy extraction rate and the circulating pump energy consumption rate as follows:
Minimize(F)
^{1}
F =
˙
^{E} ground ^{−}
˙
E
pump
(36)
It was assumed that maximum heating/cooling energy rates from the ground pipes do not exceed 1.5 kW in any of the cities, to match it with the energy demand of the small test room under investigation by the authors. This assumption was made to make the comparison between different regions possible by searching for the parameters that maximize the energy extraction rates from the ground with a similar upper limit in all the modeled climatic conditions. Although a different objective function could have been deﬁned to include the impacts of the dynamic building load requirements, which would have been a more holistic view of the building and GSHP system, the scope and intend of this paper has been primarily put on optimizing the ground side characteristics. The next phase of this project will be more focused on the dynamic
Table 4 Intermediate layer thermal properties selected from the manual for the soil and rock classiﬁcation for ground heat pump design [32].
Index number 
Intermediate material 
Thermal conductivity 
Thermal diffusivity 

_{(}_{W} 
_{m} −1 ◦ _{C} −1 _{)} 
(m ^{2} s ^{−}^{1} ) × 10 ^{−}^{8} 

1 
TDA 
0.29 
58 

2 
Sand 
0.77 
45 

3 
Clay 
1.11 
54 

4 
Loam 
0.91 
49 

5 
Saturated silt or clay 
1.67 
66 

6 
Saturated sand 
2.5 
93 
46
A. RezaeiBazkiaei et al. / Energy and Buildings 61 (2013) 39–50
Days (starting on October 1st)
240
220
200
180
160
140
120
100
80
60
Days (starting on October 1st)
Fig. 6. Annual air and solar radiation variation in the selected cities.
optimization of the building load demand as well as the cost savings associated with the presence of the intermediate soil layer. A population size of 500 and 50 generations was selected for each run of the model after a few diagnostic runs to guarantee the convergence to the optimized values. A singleobjective GA was used to search for the optimal value of the objective function in each population of results or, in other words, maximize the net energy extraction/dissipation rates from/to the ground. For each set of parameters in the initial population of the pos sible design points (500 for these runs) chosen by GA, the ﬁnite difference ground pipe model was run to calculate the energy rates and the heat pump work rate required to calculate the objective function. The resulting values of the objective function for all the points in the pool of initial set of variables were sorted, compared and ranked by the GA options deﬁned in Table 2 based on their optimal values of objective function. After all the calculations for the initial population of possible optimal points were performed, the GA utilizes the mutation and crossover functions as listed in Table 2 to create the next generation of the nearoptimal points. A similar calculation process was repeated for each generation of GA runs where the elite (nearoptimal) sets of parameters from each population were passed to the next generations of best results, and this procedure repeated itself till the last generation (total of 50 generations) of optimal results were obtained. A total number of 32 processors with 48 GB memory were used for each monthly run of the model, which resulted in a runtime of about 7 h. A total number of 64 processors with 48 GB memory were used for each annual run, which resulted in a runtime of about 65 h for each year.
5. Effects of climate on optimization
The main focus of this research was to study the effects of the climatic conditions on the selection of the optimized opera tional ground side parameters for a horizontal GSHP employing
a nonhomogeneous soil proﬁle. To evaluate the potential bene ﬁts of the intermediate layer in different climate conditions, three cities representing different climates were selected for evalua tion. These were Buffalo, NY, Dallas, TX and Miami, FL. Buffalo’s climate condition requires space heating for a majority of the year (approximately 838 annual coolingdegreedays, extracted from www.degreedays.net), so Buffalo was assumed to represent
a heating dominated city with eight months of heating (start ing in October). Miami’s case with approximately 4517 annual coolingdegreedays was assumed to be a representative of a warm climate. Simulation for Dallas (approximately 3621 annual coolingdegreedays) was done with the assumption of six months (November–April) of heating to be representative of a mild climate condition. To simplify the introduction of the weather data, the air
and dewpoint temperature, and solar radiation values for these cities were introduced to the model via estimation of these inputs by the following cosine functions:
T _{a}_{i}_{r} = T aavg + T aamp cos 2
t
P
_{−} ^{˛} air
12
(37)
where T _{a}_{}_{a}_{v}_{g} is the average annual air temperature, T _{a}_{}_{a}_{m}_{p} is the amplitude of ﬂuctuation of annual air temperature, and ˛ _{a}_{i}_{r} is the ﬁtted cosine model phase difference for air temperature, calcu lated based on the start time of the modeling on October ﬁrst (the assumed heating season start time). In addition, the dewpoint temperature T _{d}_{e}_{w}_{p}_{o}_{i}_{n}_{t} used in calculation of the incoming longwave radiation described in [21], was modeled as:
^{T} dewpoint ^{=} ^{T} dewavg ^{+} ^{T} dewamp ^{c}^{o}^{s} ^{2} ^{}
t
P
_{−} ^{˛} dew
12
(38)
where T _{d}_{e}_{w}_{}_{a}_{v}_{g} is the average annual dewpoint temperature, T _{d}_{e}_{w}_{}_{a}_{m}_{p} is the amplitude of annual dewpoint temperature vari ation, and ˛ _{d}_{e}_{w} is the ﬁtted cosine model phase difference for dewpoint temperature. Finally,
^{Q} si ^{=} ^{Q} siavg ^{+} ^{Q} siamp ^{c}^{o}^{s} ^{2} ^{}
P _{−} ^{˛} Q si
t
12
(39)
where Q _{s}_{i}_{}_{a}_{v}_{g} is the average annual solar radiation reaching the sur face, Q _{s}_{i}_{}_{a}_{m}_{p} is the amplitude of ﬂuctuation of the solar radiation throughout the year, and the ˛ _{Q} _{s}_{i} is the ﬁtted cosine model phase difference for radiation. Weather data were obtained form the National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center (NOHRSC) and curveﬁtting was undertaken in the Microsoft Excel environment to obtain the input parameters to the cosine models. A schematic of air temperature and solar radiation variation for these cities is presented in Fig. 6. A summary of the input parameters to the model for these cities is presented in Table 5. Here, U _{s} is the average annual surface wind
Table 5 Weather data for selected cities as input to the model.
City 

Buffalo 
Dallas 
Miami 

T _{a}_{}_{a}_{v}_{g} ( ^{◦} C) T _{a}_{}_{a}_{m}_{p} ( ^{◦} C) 
9.3 
19.7 
23.7 
14.1 
12.2 
6.8 

˛ _{a}_{i}_{r} (month) 
10.1 
10.1 
10.3 
T _{d}_{e}_{w}_{}_{a}_{v}_{g} ( ^{◦} C) T _{d}_{e}_{w}_{}_{a}_{m}_{p} ( ^{◦} C) 
4.3 
9.4 
18.1 
12.2 
11.6 
7.3 

˛ _{d}_{e}_{w} (month) 
10.2 
10 
10.4 
Q _{s}_{i}_{}_{a}_{v}_{g} (W m ^{−}^{2} ) Q _{s}_{i}_{}_{a}_{m}_{p} (W m ^{−}^{2} ) 
142 
168 
182 
75 
59 
33 

˛ _{Q} _{s}_{i} (month) 
9.2 
10.2 
10.1 
U _{s} (m s ^{−}^{1} ) 
4.2 
4.1 
4 
A. RezaeiBazkiaei et al. / Energy and Buildings 61 (2013) 39–50
Table 6 Monthly genetic algorithm results for Buffalo, Dallas and Miami.
47
Month 
Buffalo 
Dallas 
Miami 

˙ 
˙ 
˙ 

Intermediate 
E _{g}_{r}_{o}_{u}_{n}_{d} (W) 
% 
Intermediate 
E _{g}_{r}_{o}_{u}_{n}_{d} (W) 
% 
Intermediate 
^{E} ground ^{(}^{W}^{)} 
^{%} 

material 
material 
material 

October 
Sat. sand 
558 
6.5 
TDA 
1500 
0.2 
Sat. sand 
1499 
2.2 
November 
TDA 
492 
4.7 
Sat. sand 
1071 
4.9 
Sat. sand 
1500 
0.1 
December 
TDA 
515 
13.2 
Sat. sand 
1096 
1.7 
Sat. sand 
1359 
7.1 
January 
TDA 
474 
18.8 
TDA 
1054 
0.1 
Sat. sand 
712 
7.4 
February 
TDA 
375 
19.4 
Sat. sand 
1017 
4.9 
Sat. sand 
649 
6.2 
March 
TDA 
252 
6.8 
Sat. sand 
937 
6.8 
Sat. sand 
1145 
8.5 
April 
Sat. sand 
179 
9.1 
Sat. sand 
825 
6.7 
Sat. sand 
1500 
0.6 
May 
Sat. sand 
295 
11.7 
TDA 
1500 
0.3 
TDA 
1500 
1.1 
June 
TDA 
1500 
2.5 
TDA 
1500 
1.7 
TDA 
1500 
0.2 
July 
Sat. sand 
1500 
1.2 
TDA 
1500 
1.7 
TDA 
1500 
0.9 
August 
TDA 
1500 
1.2 
TDA 
1500 
0.9 
TDA 
1500 
0.6 
September 
TDA 
1500 
1.3 
TDA 
1500 
1.7 
TDA 
1500 
0.3 
velocity (m s ^{−}^{1} ) and the rest of the parameters are deﬁned in Eqs.
(37)–(39).
6. Results and discussion
6.1. Monthly optimization of depth and placement of
nonhomogeneous layer for energy saving
The optimization process was performed separately for each month to estimate the range of the optimal operating parameters and how the optimal parameters vary from month to month. The selection of the intermediate layer material type by the algorithm assures a nonhomogeneous proﬁle that provides the best per formance. The optimized monthly parameters for the three cities evaluated are presented in Table 6. The columns in this table con tain the optimized choice of the intermediate layer and the energy extraction/dissipation rates from/to the ground for each month. The energy rates and the percent difference between the calculated energy rates with the nonhomogeneous soil proﬁle and the corre sponding values for the homogeneous soil proﬁle are presented for each city as well. It can be concluded from these results that including an inter mediate nonhomogeneous layer of TDA provides more beneﬁts in certain climate conditions and within each climate its potential advantage is more pronounced in some months more than others. Results for Buffalo (Table 6) show that TDA was selected as the dominant intermediate layer for eight months of the year of which ﬁve months (November–March) were in the heating season. In the cooling season, TDA was not selected only in July where the sat urated sand tends to exhibit a dominant effect as an intermediate layer. The results for Dallas (Table 6) show a different trend where TDA has been selected as the dominant intermediate layer mostly in warmer months of the year, whereas saturated sand yields the optimal energy extraction rates in the colder months. The reason behind this observation probably lies in the difference in the phase change angle of the annual temperature and solar radiation for Buf falo and Dallas. The maximum and minimum ambient temperature and solar radiations occur with a time lag for these cities (Fig. 6). Therefore, the interplay of energy exchange processes on the sur face seems to favor the most conductive intermediate layer versus the least conductive layer or vice versa in certain months of the year. TDA was selected by the algorithm in the hottest months of the year in Miami (Table 6) to yield the highest energy dis sipation rates. There is an inconsistent trend in selection of the choice intermediate layer properties in June, for Buffalo, and in January, for Dallas, as compared to the other months of the same season. This might be associated with the fact that the results of the
optimization algorithm for these two months were marginally con vergent to select TDA as the best intermediate material, whereas if the optimization would have continued longer and for larger number of generations, saturated sand would have been selected. An interesting observation from the monthly results was that only the two intermediate materials with lowest and highest ther mal conductivities were selected as the choice nonhomogeneous layer material through the optimization algorithm. The fact that TDA (the least conductive) or saturated sand (the most con ductive) were selected among the provided list of intermediate material suggests that the ground pipes can beneﬁt from a non homogeneous layer above the pipe burial depth throughout the
year, but not necessarily from the one with the highest insulation properties.
It should be noted that this modeling procedure does not take
into account other characteristics of the TDA or saturated sand. Characteristics such as the porosity and water holding capacity, which might potentially contribute to considerably different per formance results than that only based on the heat conduction in the soil medium. TDA’s porous structure can potentially enhance the moisture migration to the underlying layers of soil, where higher moisture can contribute to higher thermal conductivities of the soil around the pipes. It is expected that this characteristic of TDA has a more substantial effect in the summer time, especially in regions with less rainfall events. The values in the last column for each city in Table 6 represent the percentage energy extraction/dissipation rate increase com pared to the homogeneous soil proﬁle in different months. There are trends in comparing the results for similar seasons in different cities. The percentage increases in energy extraction rate for the coldest months in Buffalo (January–February) are as high as 18–19% as compared to similar time periods for Dallas with highest values of 5–6%. This ﬁnding can be translated into the potential for higher energy harvesting potential with a nonhomogeneous soil proﬁle in the heating season in a colder climate (Buffalo). It should be noted
again that the material choice for the intermediate layer in the cold season in Buffalo was TDA versus the saturated sand for Dallas.
A similar comparison for the cooling season in all cities reveals
an interesting observation. The highest increase in the energy dis sipation rate, for cooling in Miami, happens in the coldest month of the year with an increase in energy dissipation rates of approx imately 6–8%. The optimization algorithm tends to choose higher working ﬂuid temperatures, compared to the warmer months, with the highest intermediate layer conductivity (saturated sand) to maximize the heat ﬂux to the ground and subsequently increase the overall ground pipe performance. This trend did not repeat in warmer months as the algorithm searches through the large popu lation of possible solutions. The comparison for the cooling season in all cities shows that relatively small increase in energy extraction
48
A. RezaeiBazkiaei et al. / Energy and Buildings 61 (2013) 39–50
rates from the ground are achievable with the nonhomogeneous soil proﬁle for cooling purposes. It should be noted that the perfor mance of the homogeneous system is very close to the maximum expected cooling capacity (1500 W) in warmest months of the year for all these cities, which contributes to the marginal improve ments with a nonhomogeneous soil proﬁle. In other words, if the designed ground pipe network was supposed to provide higher energy rates, the percentage increase in energy extraction rates would probably be higher and more pronounced with the non homogeneous soil proﬁle. It seems reasonable to conclude that use of a nonhomogeneous soil proﬁle for coolingonly purposes, in a warm climate, can be more beneﬁcial if a relatively high conductive intermediate layer is employed.
6.2. Annual optimization
The intention behind performing the optimization for each month was to gain an understanding of the key parameters that provide optimal energy rates for the ground pipe and their shorter term variation in different regions. The intermediate layer selec tion by the optimization algorithm was performed to provide a basis for comparing the ground pipe performance each month versus the results of annual optimization presented in this sec tion. After performing the analysis for each month and gaining knowledge of the relationship between selected variables, mod eling was focused on ﬁnding the optimal values of the inlet ﬂuid temperature and the conﬁguration of the intermediate layer year round. This approach provides the designer with the optimized working ﬂuid temperatures and intermediate layer’s conﬁgura tion which yields maximum annual energy extraction/dissipation rates in each season. One of the most important ﬁndings from the monthly simulation results was that the two dominant choices for the intermediate nonhomogeneous layer were TDA and saturated sand, the two intermediate material with lowest and highest ther
mal conductivity. Although the selection of the antifreeze solution
is mandated by the pipe characteristics, pressure drop calculations
and other site speciﬁc considerations, the working ﬂuid proper ties was set to 13% propyleneglycol and water mixture for all the annual runs. This working ﬂuid property was the most dominant choice of the GA search in the monthly optimization to achieve
maximum energy extraction/dissipation rates from/to the ground. Given that the TDA material can be implemented practically as
a valueadded passive design with nonhomogeneous soil proﬁle
for the ground pipes, the annual optimization simulations were limited to the use of TDA. After obtaining the optimized values of the entering ﬂuid temperatures and TDA layer conﬁguration, the energy extraction/dissipation rates were calculated for heating and cooling seasons. Energy extraction/dissipation rates were cal culated for a nonhomogeneous proﬁle with saturated sand layer
with the same optimized operational parameters achieved for TDA to compare the annual results. This approach provides a base to compare the difference between the energy harvesting rates from the ground with the two choice intermediate material in identical operational conditions.
Table 7 Optimal values of working ﬂuid temperature and TDA conﬁguration from annual GA simulations for Buffalo, Dallas and Miami (to be used as annual design values).
Parameter 
Buffalo 
Dallas 
Miami 
T _{f}_{,}_{i} _{m}_{i}_{n} ( ^{◦} C) 
−2.3 
−2.7 

^{T} ^{f}^{,}^{i} meanheating ^{(} ◦ ^{C}^{)} 
^{7} 
^{2}^{3}^{.}^{5} 

Thickness, b (m) Position, d (m) 
0.5 
0.5 
0.8 
0.3 
0.4 
0.4 

T _{f}_{,}_{i} _{m}_{a}_{x} ( ^{◦} C) 
45.7 
52.6 
73.0 
T _{f}_{,}_{i} _{m}_{e}_{a}_{n}_{}_{c}_{o}_{o}_{l}_{i}_{n}_{g} ( ^{◦} C) 
31.7 
29.6 
55.0 
Results from the annual simulations are presented in Tables 7 and 8. The values of TDA thickness and position and the operating ﬂuid temperatures in Table 7 were obtained by running the optimization for the entire year, so these values should be used as the annual design values that maximize the energy extrac tion/dissipation rates from/to the ground. The reported energy extraction/dissipation rates in Table 8 are the average values for each season. The upper and lower limits for the values of the work ing ﬂuid temperatures were chosen to cover the below freezing point temperatures in heating season as well as high temperatures in cooling season. The introduction of the broad range of temper ature values to the search algorithm was intentionally made to utilize the capacity of the search algorithm to ﬁnd the optimal solu tion in a bigger space of design options. Although some of the higher temperature values might not be in the common practice range for the ground pipe design, the goal of this research to explore the potential new design options for the ground pipe has ruled the need for keeping the upper limits higher than the common working ﬂuid temperature ranges. The aim of this study has been to explore the options for the ground pipe design with new initiatives that have not been considered before, yet require further investigation. Interesting observation from the optimization results for the max imum and average working ﬂuid temperature is that the search for the optimal working ﬂuid temperatures has resulted in values that are considerably higher than the common upper range design val ues (approximately 35 ^{◦} C). These ﬁndings can be a starting point for investigating new ground pipe technologies that are capable of delivering higher temperatures from the ground to achieve optimal energy extraction rates. Nonetheless, the practical aspects of imple mentation of the higher working ﬂuid temperature values requires further investigation. The percentages in Table 8 refer to the percent increase in the energy extraction/dissipation rates compared to the homogeneous soil proﬁle with TDA or saturated sand layers. The obtained opti mized temperature values and intermediate layer conﬁguration for TDA were used to run the homogeneous and saturated sand scenarios for comparison. A comparison between the Buffalo annual energy extrac tion/dissipation rates shows 15.7% and 7.6% higher rates with TDA layer versus the homogeneous case, in heating and cooling seasons, respectively. A similar comparison for Buffalo shows 2.1% and 1.2% lower performance for saturated sand versus the homogeneous case, in heating and cooling seasons, respectively (Table 8). The corresponding values for Dallas with TDA are 3.8% and 3.5% higher
Table 8 Values of seasonally averaged energy extraction/dissipation rates in heating/cooling season for Buffalo, Dallas and Miami.
Parameter 
Buffalo 
Dallas 
Miami 

Heating 
Cooling 
Heating 
Cooling 
Cooling 

TDA energy (W) Sat. sand energy (W) Homog. energy (W) % TDA % Sat. sand 
324 
1497 
635 
1431 
1298 

274 
1375 
608 
1378 
1482 

280 
1391 
612 
1382 
1456 

15.7 
7.6 
3.8 
3.5 
−10.9 

−2.1 
−1.2 
−0.7 
−0.3 
1.8 
A. RezaeiBazkiaei et al. / Energy and Buildings 61 (2013) 39–50
49
in heating and cooling seasons as compared to 0.7% and 0.3% lower with saturated sand layer in similar seasons (Table 8). For Buffalo, higher energy extraction/dissipation rate increase over the homogeneous proﬁle was observed with TDA layer in heat
ing than cooling season (15.7% versus 7.6%). Comparing the heating season energy extraction rates over the homogeneous soil proﬁle
in Buffalo to Dallas shows that relatively higher efﬁciencies were
achievable in Buffalo (15.6% versus 3.8%). The results for Miami (Table 8), on the other hand, suggest a signiﬁcantly better energy
dissipation rates to the ground with saturated sand as compared to TDA layer (1.8% versus −10.9%) for cooling purposes. However, it
is worth noting that the percentage increase in energy dissipation
rate to the ground (1.8%) with saturated sand is considerably lower than the monthly values obtained for Miami (Table 6). The optimized energy extraction rates with the monthly design parameters obtained from the genetic algorithm deviate consider ably from the values obtained from the simulations for the entire year. It is harder for the search algorithm to ﬁnd operational param eters for the ground pipes that decrease the difference between seasonal energy rates and highest achievable monthly values. This
causes the annual energy rates to be lower than the ones attainable
if the monthly control on the operating parameters (working ﬂuid
temperatures and intermediate layer conﬁguration) was practically feasible. For example, the maximum attainable energy extraction
rate in heating season for Buffalo is 324 W (Table 8) as compared
to maximum obtainable monthly (October) rate of 558 W (Table 6),
a reduction of approximately 40% compared to the monthly value.
A similar comparison for Dallas shows that the average heating
season energy extraction rate of 635 W (Table 8) is approximately 57% lower than the maximum monthly (October) attainable energy extraction rate of 1500 W (Table 6). The cooling season energy dis sipation rates to the ground in all the cities have considerably lower deviance from the corresponding monthly optimized values.
It is worth raising a discussion regarding the physical phe
nomenon that leads to the selection of TDA versus saturated sand
in the search algorithm. Conceptually, there is a need for balancing
the amount of heat penetrating the soil surface, mainly from the solar gains and surface heat conduction, and the amount of heat that needs to be extracted/dissipated depending on the season. This balance point, of course, has been altered by the introduction of the intermediate layer in this study which can be translated into more
engineering control on this natural process occurring in the soil. The way this energy extraction/dissipation demand becomes satisﬁed
is a function of both the physical soil proﬁle as well as the ambient
air temperature and solar radiation variation throughout the year (Fig. 6). The combination of these parameters promotes utilization
of 
an intermediate layer, which best serves the heat transfer regime 
in 
the soil proﬁle. For cities with climatic conditions similar to Buf 
falo, this balance seems to shift toward the need to maintain the stored heat in the bulk of soil at the pipe level, given the lower
amount of heat entering the soil proﬁle from the surface because
of less incident solar energy and lower air temperature. This is the
reason TDA has been selected by the algorithm for cold months in Buffalo. A similar comparison in the cooling season for Miami, from October to April, shows that a higher conductive intermediate layer favors the heat dissipation process from the pipe to the surrounding
soil by letting more heat escape the immediate bulk of soil adjacent
to the pipe. A closer look at the cooling season optimization results,
from May to September, for Dallas and Miami (Table 6), shows that TDA has been selected as the choice intermediate layer. This can be explained as an attempt to maintain the ground cooler by having an overlaying insulation layer so that there is a higher heat ﬂux to the ground from the pipe. Because the intermediate layer conﬁguration can not be adjusted once the system is installed, it is clear that the intermedi ate layer dimensions that optimize the annual energy extraction
rates are needed for each of these climates as summarized in Table 7. More ﬂexible control on the energy extraction rates in each month can subsequently be obtained via control on the heat pump characteristics. Variable refrigerant ﬂow or multistage heat pumps can be designed in conjunction with the desirable intermediate layer properties and conﬁguration to assure the least deviance from the actual monthly building energy demand. Moreover, a detailed analysis of the impact of the geographical variation of soil prop erties is recommended to be considered in the future studies. The numerical results from the presented analyses in this paper are subject to veriﬁcation with the expected ﬁeld data from an exper imental GSHP facility under investigation by the authors. Authors expect that with the results from their ﬁeld experiment the respon sible mechanisms associated with the implementation of the TDA material can be revealed with more evidence, so that alternative materials can be explored, subsequently.
7. Conclusions
A numerical model was developed for the ground pipe of a hor izontal GSHP with a nonhomogeneous soil layer. The model was coupled with genetic algorithm to search for operational param eters that maximize energy extraction/dissipation rates from/to the ground. The search algorithm was given a range of working ﬂuid properties, intermediate layer thermal properties, a range of operating ﬂuid temperatures, and the intermediate layer conﬁg uration to search for the optimized energy extraction/dissipation rates from/to the ground. The optimization was performed for three cities representing a cold (Buffalo), moderate (Dallas) and warm (Mmiami) climate to evaluate the impact of climate on the opti mization. Despite different performance achievements with either
a low conductance (TDA) or a high conductance (saturated sand) intermediate layer, a nonhomogeneous soil proﬁle demonstrated the potential for increasing the energy extraction/dissipation rates from/to the ground. A shift in perspective toward more control
strategies for GSHPs with control on the ground pipe side of the sys tem is suggested based on the model results. Further investigation
of other attributes of a nonhomogeneous system which potentially
can enhance the GSHP’s performance is still required. A summary
of ﬁndings are listed below:
• A nonhomogeneous soil proﬁle exhibited a great potential for enhancing a horizontal GSHP’s pipe performance by increasing the energy extraction/dissipation rates from/to the ground.
• TDA demonstrated higher beneﬁts in colder climates by increas ing the energy extraction rates from the ground in the heating season.
• TDA demonstrated a marginal enhancement during cooling cycles due to insigniﬁcant difference between achievable energy extraction rates with the nonhomogeneous and homogeneous cases.
• Saturated sand demonstrated potential for increasing the energy dissipation rates to the ground in warm climate.
• The optimized seasonal energy extraction rates from the ground exhibited signiﬁcant difference (an upper range of 40–60% less) from the highest achievable monthly values in the heating season.
• Minimal difference was observed between the cooling sea son optimized energy dissipation rates and the corresponding monthly values.
Acknowledgments
Partial funding for this research was provided by Empire State Development’s Environmental Services Unit through the New York State Tire Derived Aggregate Program at the
50
A. RezaeiBazkiaei et al. / Energy and Buildings 61 (2013) 39–50
University at Buffalo’s Center for Integrated Waste Management:
www.tdanys.buffalo.edu/UB. Authors would like to thank Dr. Ken neth Fishman and Mr. Louis Zicari from the Center for Integrated Waste Management for their constant support and continuing contribution to this project.
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