A scientific team from the University of Huelva has developed a method which, at no additional cost, makes it possible to accurately determine the heat transfer capacity from a site to a building. With this system and with the incorporation in the basement of geothermal heat pumps that regulate the air circulation, the The air conditioning needs of new buildings would be covered without the need to use electricity.
Considering the fact that neither more nor less than 40% of global electricity consumption in the European Union is concentrated in buildings, any contribution that improves their energy efficiency becomes a victory for sustainability. Hence the value of this innovation, carried out by José Manuel Andújar, Miguel Ángel Martínez and Sergio J. Gómez, from the Higher Technical School of Engineering of the University of Huelva.
More precisely, as explained in an article published in Sensors, the advance is done in several stages. The first, the development of a innovative methodology that allows to measure what is called in scientific terms the thermal diffusivity of the earth. What the equipment refers to is the ability to accurately determine the soil temperature at a specific depth. Moreover, this method also makes it possible to know the transmission capacity of these grounds to a construction which is built on its surface.
The ability to get actual data fitted to each terrain is in itself a vital change since, to date, builders have used tables that offer rough data. In addition, another strong point of this new method is that it is “Simple and affordable”. As long as This can be done by taking advantage of the geotechnical drilling that needs to be done before any house is built. or building. Thus, in the same process, measurements would be taken directly to determine the soil temperature and its thermal diffusivity at the depth of interest.
However, the scientists of Huelva did not stay in this stage, since their vocation with this work was the real application of this method and the analysis of the advances that it would lead to sustainable construction. In this line, scientific team developed a system based on geothermal heat pumps which, installed in the foundations of buildings, taking into account the data collected, would regulate air circulation and thus maintain temperatures in summer and winter.
With this system, essentially a collector tube structure, “Heat is extracted from the earth’s subsoil and rises to higher plants in winter. However, the reverse process is carried out during the warmer seasons, which cools the rooms. “, Andújar explains in statements collected by the Discover the Foundation in which he illustrates how, thanks to these innovations, buildings would become self-regulating.
Beyond the theory, the experts put their proposals into practice in a construction with basement in Huelva, in which they verified the energy savings that their advances imply, as well as their benefits for the environment. Thus, once the road has been mapped out, any new construction could follow suit by obtaining data from the field and by adapting geothermal systems to its characteristics, which would allow heating any home thanks to the basement.