The collection and analysis of data from GHP systems has been recognized as high priority in addressing a number of market barriers. To date, these efforts have been undertaken by research projects that includes a handful of systems over a the course of a year. The results of these studies are difficult to generalize and are insufficient to quantify benefits and risks that are essential for the development of financial services or business models. With the increased use of web-based monitoring systems that can collect data from thousands of systems over long periods of time, there is an opportunity to aggregate anonymized data into sharable databases for cost-effective large scale analysis. The solar photovoltaic (PV) industry faces similar challenges 20 years ago and the open Solar Performance and Reliability Clearinghouse (oSPARC) has contributed to the development of new business models, lowered the cost of solar PV installation, and stimulated growth in the solar PV market. One example of the benefits of large-scale performance data in solar PV is the ability of companies like Solar City to securitize solar assets.
The oTherm project was initiated through discussions within the Renewable Thermal Alliance and the developers of oSPARC and follows a similar strategy. The two key elements are developing a standardized data dictionary with input from key stakeholders and developing a database framework to serve as a data repository. Because GHP systems are integrated into buildings and are providing heating and cooling to building, the data dictionaries are more complex than solar PV. Furthermore, to quantify system performance it is necessary to incorporate meta data on the ground heat exchanger and the characteristics of web-based monitoring system.
With support from the US Department of Energy, the oTherm project aims to lower the cost and complexity of conducting monitoring and verification (M&V) studies of renewable thermal technologies deployed for the heating and cooling of buildings. The project is coordinated by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) with UNH leading the technical development and Yale University coordinating with stakeholders from the GHP industry, other state energy offices in the region, financial institutions, and utilities. The main results of grant include:
- A web-based application that serves as the primary data management tool
- Collection of Python scripts for accessing and analyzing data, using ground source heat pump as an example technology, and
- A set of Best Practices documents that guide data providers on what capabilities are expected for an oTherm monitoring system and M&V practitioners on establishing a monitoring and verification program to meet their specific needs.
For more information, visit the oTherm project repository.