Natural and active cooling – cooling with heat pumps

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Viessmann NC-Box for natural cooling

A heat pump is not only an extremely environmentally responsible heating system, but also very versatile in its application. This is because, in addition to its primary task of supplying residential buildings with heat, it is also capable of air tempering in the warmer months. There are basically two possible cooling methods, passive and active cooling.

Natural cooling – passive cooling with heat pumps

Passive cooling (natural cooling) works in combination with a brine/water or water/water heat pump. In the brine/water heat pump, the brine medium extracts the heat from the heating circuit via a heat exchanger and transfers it outdoors. With the water/water heat pump, the groundwater takes on the task. The natural ambient temperature is also used for cooling. Apart from the control unit and circulation pump, the heat pump remains switched off. As the compressor is not required for this, no power is required. This makes natural cooling a particularly energy efficient and inexpensive way to cool the interior of a building.

Pleasant cooling effect without annoying noise

Passive cooling allows the room temperature to be lowered by about three degrees Celsius. The additional effort required for installation is low and there is no annoying noise during operation. Passive cooling is achieved with both geothermal collectors and geothermal probes, where the latter provide higher output.

System owners who wish to use their heat pumps for temperate heating need what is known as an NC-Box. This is a fully pre-assembled unit that combines all the necessary components. Installation by a contractor is quick and straightforward.

Active cooling with heat pumps

With active cooling, the function of the heat pump is simply reversed. For this, the refrigerant cycle is reversed internally; alternatively the primary and secondary connections are changed over. As with a fridge, the heat pump then actively generates a cooling capacity. With this method, the compressor remains in operation and the heat pump can apply a greater cooling capacity when compared to passive cooling.

Rooms at the right temperature, thanks to natural cooling

Extracted heat can be used in different ways

Active cooling can be achieved with both a brine/water and an air source heat pump. Operation with a water/water heat pump is also possible. Fan convectors or underfloor and/or wall heating systems are suitable as cooling surfaces. The heat extracted from the rooms can either be returned to the heat source or used for domestic hot water heating. This way, the heating and cooling functions of a heat pump are combined extremely effectively.

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