Energy dashboard for real-time evaluation of a heat pump assisted solar thermal system

David Allen Lotz, Purdue University


The emergence of net-zero energy buildings, buildings that generate at least as much energy as they consume, has lead to greater use of renewable energy sources such as solar thermal energy. One example is a heat pump assisted solar thermal system, which uses solar thermal collectors with an electrical heat pump backup to supply space heating and domestic hot water. The complexity of such a system can be somewhat problematic for monitoring and maintaining a high level of performance. Therefore, an energy dashboard was developed to provide comprehensive and user friendly performance metrics for a solar heat pump system. Once developed, the energy dashboard was tested over a two-week period in order to determine the functionality of the dashboard program as well as the performance of the heating system itself. The results showed the importance of a user friendly display and how each metric could be used to better maintain and evaluate an energy system. In particular, Energy Factor (EF), which is the ratio of output energy (collected energy) to input energy (consumed energy), was a key metric for summarizing the performance of the heating system. Furthermore, the average EF of the solar heat pump system was 2.29, indicating an efficiency significantly higher than traditional electrical heating systems.




Hutzel, Purdue University.

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