Combined Building Integrated PV/Thermal (BIPV/T) collector for net-zero energy building applications

Incorporating the Two-stage Variable Capacity Air Source Heat Pump (TS-VC-ASHP) into Building Integrated Photovoltaic/Thermal (BIPV/T) system has the potential to reduce building heating and cooling costs and dependence on non-renewable heating fuels. ASHPs could boost the quality and quantity of heat output of a BIPV/T system by delivering a seasonal Coefficient of Performance (COP) of between 2.0 and 4.0, which means 2-4 times more energy output than the amount of energy (electricity) consumed.

When used in Canada’s cold climates, however, ASHPs alone have been found to underperform at low temperatures due to the scarcity of heat that may be pumped out of the atmosphere. One solution to this is the two-stage VC-ASHP which can provide a higher COP at very low winter outdoor temperatures. The incorporation of PV/T and two-stage variable capacity ASHP into building integrated sloped roof, flat roof and curtain wall solutions in existing residential and commercial buildings will furthermore have the potential to lower overall costs of such systems, significantly reduce GHG emissions and provide significant economic and other benefits for Canada in general and for southern Ontario and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) in particular. The proposed research project is to seek the optimal system configuration(s) of the integrated BIPV/T+ASHP system suitable for southern Ontario climate in new and retrofitted house and small commercial building applications through both numerical and experimental studies. The outcomes of the proposed project are expected to be further promoted and marketed by our partners (local governments, industries and industry associations) for quick and broad adoption of the proposed system(s) in the building sector.

Raghad Kamel, Peter Dash & Jun Long Zhang
Faculty Supervisor: 
Drs. Alan Fung & Wey H. Leong