Durham School of Architectural Engineering and Construction


Performance of a Coupled Cooling System with Earth-to-Air Heat Exchanger and Solar Chimney

Date of this Version



H. Li, Y. Yu*, F. Niu, M. Shafik, and B. Chen. (2014) "Performance of a Coupled Cooling System with Earth-to-Air Heat Exchanger and Solar Chimney". Renewable Energy. 2014, Vol. 62: 468-477.


Copyright (c) 2013 Elsevier Ltd.
Link leads to ScienceDirect site.


Buildings represent nearly 40 percent of total energy use in the U.S. and about 50 percent of this energy is used for heating, ventilating, and cooling the space. Conventional heating and cooling systems are having a great impact on security of energy supply and greenhouse gas emissions. Unlike conventional approach, this paper investigates an innovative passive air conditioning system coupling earth-to-air heat exchangers (EAHEs) with solar collector enhanced solar chimneys. By simultaneously utilizing geothermal and solar energy, the system can achieve great energy savings within the building sector and reduce the peak electrical demand in the summer. Experiments were conducted in a test facility in summer to evaluate the performance of such a system. During the test period, the solar chimney drove up to 0.28 m3/s (1000 m3/h) outdoor air into the space. The EAHE provided a maximum 3308 W total cooling capacity during the day time. As a 100 percent outdoor air system, the coupled system maximum cooling capacity was 2582Wthat almost covered the building design cooling load. The cooling capacities reached their peak during the day time when the solar radiation intensity was strong. The results show that the coupled system can maintain the indoor thermal environmental comfort conditions at a favorable range that complies with ASHRAE standard for thermal comfort. The findings in this research provide the foundation for design and application of the coupled system.