Energy and cost savings from pipe insulation on domestic, pumped storage (split), solar water heating systems in Australia and New Zealand

Berrill, T., Jolly, P.G., & Morrison, G.L. (2010) Energy and cost savings from pipe insulation on domestic, pumped storage (split), solar water heating systems in Australia and New Zealand. In The 48th Australian Solar Energy Society Annual Conference, 1-3 December 2010, Canberra, ACT.

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Appropriate pipe insulation on domestic, pumped storage (split), solar water heating systems forms an integral part of energy conservation measures of well engineered systems. However, its importance over the life of the system is often overlooked.

This study outlines the findings of computer modelling to quantify the energy and cost savings by using pipe insulation between the collector and storage tank. System sizes of 270 Litre storage tank, together with either selectively surfaced, flat plate collectors (4m2 area), or 30 evacuated tube collectors, were used. Insulation thicknesses of 13mm and 15mm, pipe runs both ways of 10, 15 and 20 metres and both electric and gas boosting of systems were all considered.

The TRNSYS program was used to model the system performance at a representative city in each of the 6 climate zones for Australia and New Zealand, according to AS/NZS4234 – Heat Water Systems – Calculation of energy consumption and the ORER RECs calculation method. The results show:

 Energy savings from pipe insulation are very significant, even in mild climates such as Rockhampton. Across all climates zones, savings ranged from 0.16 to 3.5GJ per system per year, or about 2 to 23 percent of the annual load.

 There is very little advantage in increasing the insulation thickness from 13 to 15mm. For electricity at 19c/kWh and gas at 2 c/MJ, cost savings of between $27 and $100 per year are achieved across the climate zones. Both energy and cost savings would increase in colder climates with increased system size, solar contribution and water temperatures.

 The pipe insulation substantially improves the solar contribution (or fraction) and Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), as well as giving small savings in circulating pump running costs in milder climates. Solar contribution increased by up to 23 percent points and RECs by over 7 in some cases.

 The study highlights the need to install and maintain the integrity of appropriate pipe insulation on solar water heaters over their life time in Australia and New Zealand.

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ID Code: 41095
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Pipe Insulation, Energy Savings, Domestic Solar Water Heaters
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENGINEERING (090000) > CIVIL ENGINEERING (090500) > Water Quality Engineering (090508)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Past > Schools > School of Engineering Systems
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2010 [please consult the author]
Deposited On: 08 May 2012 22:55
Last Modified: 11 May 2012 15:58

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