During the last decades, several studies have shown that heat pumps are a promising solution to reach the European Union targets on climate change mitigation, since they satisfy the energy needs for heating, cooling and hot water production employing a single device and using a significant share of renewable energy. However, the full exploitation of the energy-saving potential of heat pumps is a difficult task for designers to achieve, as several factors, such as the variability of outdoor climatic conditions, the control logic of the system and the system configuration, influence the energy performance. High Coefficient of Performance (COP) and low environmental impact make Ground Source Heat Pump (GSHP) systems one of the most suitable technologies for the heating and cooling services, to promote the decarbonization of the building sector, especially in urban areas. The objective of this study is to assess a range of strategies for heat pump systems to achieve optimal performance that can be fully utilized.To do this, the authors analyse the performance of a ‘positive’ office building, located in Swansea University Bay, which is already featured with renewable energy technologies for electricity and heat generation: an integrated photovoltaic roof to generate electricity and a wall-photovoltaic thermal system. The current configuration (‘baseline scenario’) of the building-plant system was modelled in TRNSYS 17 environment and the influence of different parameters on the energy performances was studied. To complement the already high use of renewables the authors propose an alternative scenario for the Active Office Building integrating the use of geothermal heat pumps with the existing systems. By comparing the two scenarios on an energy and environmental point of view, it was possible to assess an 11% decrease in primary energy consumption, leading to a corresponding 11% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

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