Zeroth Energy System: how it works
The Zeroth Energy System delivers localised control to provide comfortable temperatures within apartments, reduce overheating in communal areas and ensure residents only pay for the heating or cooling they use.
As we have seen, those living in modern apartment blocks face a common issue of uncomfortable temperatures and extra costs. This is a direct a result of building heating systems typically having just one option to accommodate all residents. As a result, systems ‘run hot’, with communal areas known to top 36°C year-round and those with windows receiving direct sunlight broiling in their apartments. Plus, with the costs of heating system losses spread across all residents, they can easily find themselves paying extra for the discomfort.
The Zeroth Energy System overcomes these issues by creating a series of ‘energy loops’ within the building, replacing the high-temperature system with a cool, low-pressure system, maintained by the building’s central plant room.
With Zeroth, low-temperature water flows around the building’s main loop to each apartment, which all have their own ‘mini loop’ where an individual heat pump produces heated or chilled water to the desired temperature. The water can then be passed to Ability’s fan coils, which deliver warm or cold air into a room through vents in the ceiling or wall, or to underfloor heating, or smart electrical, fan-assisted wet radiators.
Excess heat generated within the apartments is passed back into the main loop. This means the central plant only needs to fill the balance of heating for the entire building, rather than servicing the total heating or cooling requirements of every resident at once. It is more environmentally friendly, as less total energy is required to heat and cool the entire building, and it is far more cost effective, the benefit of which can be passed on directly to residents in the form of lower average heating or cooling bills.
By creating a series of ‘energy loops’ within the building, this alternate distribution design will not only save energy but also improve the thermal comfort of the occupants by significantly reducing the corridor temperatures and providing a lower CAPEX option for comfort cooling when compared with a traditional chiller system.
In addition to using conventional, readily available technologies, Zeroth also facilitates a greater opportunity for the capture of waste heat/cool currently inaccessible to the majority of UK buildings.
Work done to date by Ability and Glen Dimplex Heating & Ventilation has shown an energy network can improve its efficiency from less than 50 per cent to 98 per cent using Zeroth, which equates to substantial energy and monetary savings.