We have recently been involved in a development utilising the ground breaking ‘Heating with Ice’ technology. Stommel Haus, a German based premium manufacturer of offsite eco houses, with whom we work closely on their UK projects, have installed the Viessmann Ice Store Energy system, to one of their most recent projects, in Aberdeenshire. Stommel Haus has been manufacturing houses for more than 40 years, with a focus on healthy and natural building material wood, using timber cut from the best quality polar spruce harvested from certified forests. Their slogan ‘Ein Haus wie ein Baum – A House like a tree’ is certainly apt. With their drive for energy efficiency, achieving very high insulation values, and the promotion of a healthy indoor climate; we pride on our links with Stommel Haus. It came as no surprise to us that they were to install one of the first Heating with Ice systems in the UK (and THE first in Scotland). It is a technology which has been heating many Stommel Haus dwellings in Germany, for over 5 years.
The innovative system consists of an underground ice store, solar thermal panels, and a state of the art heat pump, recovering energy from renewable sources, to heat or cool buildings, and supply hot water.
The heat pump takes energy from water in the underground ice store; the water temperature drops as the energy is withdrawn, and in turn the water freezes. When water turns to a solid, it releases latent heat – this latent heat is retained in the ice store.
A ‘heat source management’ system within the heat pump control unit, extracts energy from the ice store, or the solar panels. The ice store also draws energy from the surrounding ground, in order to regenerate heat.
In summer months, the system provides natural cooling. At the end of the heating system, the water in the store is turned to ice, and the heat from the heating system and solar panels is channelled to melt the ice via an extraction heat exchanger, thus cooling the heating circuit within the home.
Other benefits of the Heating with Ice technology are that there is no drilling involved, so no environmental risks, and no permits required. There will be low operating costs due to a high CoP (Coefficient of Performance) of the heat pumps. It will provide a comfortable ambient temperature in a home, regardless of the weather. There is an easy to use control unit, integrated within the heat pump.