UK showhome adopts ‘heating with ice’ system to demonstrate optimum energy efficiency and sustainability

HUF HAUS, the company famous for high-end prefabricated timber and glass houses, constructed its first UK showhome at Brooklands near Weybridge in Surrey.

Sitting on a 3,000 sq m plot and extending to 428 sq m, the house’s open plan six-bay accommodation includes a spacious kitchen, expansive sitting room and a grand dining area located beneath a mezzanine level with roof-top windows. Upstairs, a luxurious master bedroom with walk-in wardrobe, en suite bathroom and walk-through shower illustrate the quality finish that defines a HUF house, while two further bedrooms, with built-in bunk beds and en suites, show the ease with which the architects can tailor their designs.

They wanted this house to demonstrate how sustainable living can be achieved through contemporary architecture and cutting-edge technology.

The intention was to construct the most engineered house in the UK and a flagship for residential architecture.
As part of this objective, the space and water heating had to demonstrate how UK homes can deliver supreme comfort while achieving optimum energy efficiency and environmental friendliness.

Making the house environmentally responsible and energy efficient with an ice store system

Drawing energy from ice to heat or cool a house would have sounded, not so long ago, like science fiction. In recent years, however, this process has become reality. Affordable, dependable, and easy to install, ice storage systems supply energy via heat pumps to heat buildings and domestic hot water in winter and to cool them in summer.

Viessmann’s innovative Vitofriocal ice store system, which recovers energy exclusively from renewable sources to heat or cool a building, and to heat domestic hot water, was the best available solution. This system is ideal for the environmentally-responsible house builder and buyer, and for installation on plots with restricted space or where ground source heat collectors are not an option for planning or practical reasons. The system is also particularly suited to the UK due to the climate and lack of deep ground frosts in winter

The ice store system consists of a cylindrical concrete container which is buried a few metres into the ground. This retains the latent heat produced by the release of crystallisation energy during the exothermic process of liquid (water) changing to solid (ice). A heat source management system is programmed to draw energy for heating from either the ice store system or a solar air absorber on the house’s roof. The ice store also draws energy from the surrounding ground, if the ground has a higher temperature, to regenerate heat in the ice store out of the winter heating period.

In summer, the ice store can also be used to provide natural cooling for the building’s interior. Here, the water is allowed to fully turn to ice at the end of the heating season. Heat is then drawn from the heating system and channelled into the ice store. This melts the ice and consequently cools the heating circuit within the home.

An advantage of the ice store system is that large volumes of energy can be stored in a very small space. Viessmann’s Vitofriocal 10m3 ice store for a detached house generates a heat gain equivalent to about 100 litres of fuel oil and is capable of 10 kW of heating output.

Another advantage is that the energy source is renewable and ultra-efficient. Because the amountof latent heat released during the exothermic process is equivalent to that required for the inverse process of thawing, in effect there is 100% energy transfer and zero losses over time.
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