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Ground heat exchanger design tool with rowwise placement of boreholes

Spitler, Jeffrey D.
West, Timothy
Liu, Xiaobing
Simulation-based design tools have been used since the late 1980s for designing ground heat exchangers (GHE) used with ground source heat pump (GSHP) systems. The ground heat exchanger simulations used in these tools rely on thermal response functions known as g-functions. Because of the significant computational burden in computing g-functions for even a single configuration, the design tools have relied on libraries of pre-computed g-functions. These g-functions were available for standard configuration shapes, such as lines, rectangles, open rectangles, L-shapes, and U-shapes. Standard shapes are often sub-optimal. For any building on a site, the available land may preclude use of a standard shape. For large GSHP systems with significantly imbalanced annual heat rejection and extraction loads, large rectangular fields may experience significant heat build-up (or heat draw-down) in the interior of the field. This paper describes a new ground heat exchanger design tool capable of automatically selecting and sizing both standard and irregular configurations. The focus of this paper is a method for creating, selecting and sizing irregular configurations where the available land area and "no-go" zones are described as irregular polygons.