Using Ice Heating to Decarbonize Tall Buildings

Session: D: Minimizing Impact: Towards Net Zero Density

Brian McKinneyProject image

Brian McKinney
Senior Associate, JB&B

Decarbonizing tall buildings is one of the most pressing challenges of our time. The key to decarbonizing our buildings involves electrifying our sources of heating by replacing gas combustion and steam with heat pumps. This presents challenges because the footprints of tall buildings are typically too small to rely upon ground source heat pumps, and air source heat pumps (ASHPs) add significant project costs in addition to taking up valuable real estate.

We are proposing a new way of integrating ASHPs that relies upon ice thermal storage and condenser water heat recovery to dramatically reduce the quantity of ASHPs required to electrify high rises. Using this strategy, every cooling load in a building can be recovered to offset the heating requirements of the building. Ice thermal storage can then be used to spread the peak load over time, thus reducing the peak heating demand. The result is that both the ASHP count and the heating energy can be cut in half.

We will also investigate the potential to use the load shifting inherent to the system as a means of reducing energy costs and of taking advantage of time-of-use carbon emission rates to minimize annual carbon emissions. We believe that this system represents a real solution to the challenge of electrifying tall buildings in a way that is more economically viable, spatially feasible, and that will integrate with the decarbonized electrical infrastructure of the coming decades.