You are on page 1of 6

Available online at www.sciencedirect.


Energy Procedia 103 (2016) 88 93

Applied Energy Symposium and Forum, REM2016: Renewable Energy Integration with
Mini/Microgrid, 19-21 April 2016, Maldives

Renewable Energy Development for Buildings

Hongwei Tana,b,c**, Yong Leia, Yibo Chena,c
Dept. mechanical & energy, Tongji University, 1239 #, Siping Road, Shanghai, 200092, China
Research center of green building & new energy ,Tongji University, China
UNEP-Tongji Institute of Environment for Sustainable Development ,Tongji University, 200092, China


At the background of urbanization in China, energy consumption of buildings has been ranked as the second largest
sector among the industry, building and transportation. Consequently, the renewable energy adopted in buildings has
been quickly developed since the Chinese policy, which shifts 60% of total photovoltaic applications to the building
sector, was enhanced. This paper discusses suitability of renewable energy applied in buildings, including solar
thermal energy (ST), photovoltaic (PV) and geothermal heat pump systems (GSHP), based on GIS database and
operation data analysis. GIS-based tools are also developed for evaluating suitability of renewable energy applied in
2016 Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license
2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Selection and/or
Peer-review peer-reviewofunder
under responsibility responsibility
the scientific of REM2016
committee of the Applied Energy Symposium and Forum,
REM2016: Renewable Energy Integration with Mini/Microgrid.
Keywords: photovoltaic (PV); solar thermal (ST); geothermal heat pump (GSHP)

1. Background

New goals of renewable energy development are established in new Chinese policies, in which the
proportion of non-fossil energy including renewable energy is expected to reach 15% and 20%
respectively in the years of 2020 and 2030 [1-2]. As shown in Fig1, in the next five-year plan (2016-2020),
China has also set up application goals of renewable energy in the building sector. In this plan, the
proportion of renewable energy consumption in new buildings of the demonstration areas should accounts
for more than 10% of the total energy consumption [3-4].
The development research of renewable energy in buildings of China has been tried by the top-down
approaches. The application scope and technical level of solar energy and GSHP have been rapidly

* Corresponding author. Tel.: +86 21 65980778; fax: +86 21 65981002.

E-mail address:

1876-6102 2016 Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license
Peer-review under responsibility of the scientific committee of the Applied Energy Symposium and Forum, REM2016: Renewable Energy Integration
with Mini/Microgrid.
Hongwei Tan et al. / Energy Procedia 103 (2016) 88 93 89

progressed since 2006, when the government began to propel the technologies of renewable energy and
then realize the generalized appliacation in buildings across the country. From the Chinese next five-year
plan, 60% of PV application capacity will be executed in building field for enhancing digestion on spot.

Fig.1 Renewable energy development in China

2. Introduction

In fact, the application of renewable energy in buildings focuses mostly on the PV, ST and GSHP,
which takes advantage of thermal storage and temperature difference in the shallow soil and surface water.
The biomass energy is applied mostly in rural regions and we had few applications of wind power in
building excepting some super high-rise buildings.
The renewable energy application has strongly regional characteristics, which mainly consist of three
pivotal as follows: local resource endowment, building energy demand and the optimization of energy
balance. In short, the key point would be how to match the energy supply with the energy demand of
buildings and yield system performance. There are three basic issues on renewable energy application in
buildings, which include the regional suitability, suitability of buildings and technical and economic
Based on the surveys and basic analysis of recent practical projects, some general issues are discussed
in this paper.

3. Suitability of Renewable Energy for Buildings

Regarding the development of the renewable energy applied in buildings, no matter the PV, ST or the
GSHP application, they depends mostly on regional conditions, so the supporting research of integration
of comprehensive information are still in urgent need.
(1) Application of PV
Taking the application of PV as an example, the commonly used indicators for evaluation of solar
radiation condition are the peak sunshine duration hours (the hours converted from the total radiation
quantity by radiation intensity of 1000W/m2) (Fig. 2). However, because of the rough converted
computation with the total radiation quantity, the potential prediction of solar power generation is usually
overrated, by ignoring the filtration management of the low-effective or non-effective radiation ranges.
According to the results of testing, the modified evaluation method is proposed by considering the
modification of the low-effect ranges. From Fig. 3 and Table 1, it is obviously that the modified results
show a double-effect of rectifying. In other words, in the poorer radiation resource, the proportion of
effective radiation occupies lower.
90 Hongwei Tan et al. / Energy Procedia 103 (2016) 88 93

Fig.2 Solar energy resource distribution in China

Fig.3 Experiment on of different PV products

Table 1 Modified effective radiation

Resource Typical city Solar radiation (MJ/m2) Revised rate (%)

grading Radiation quantity Modified radiation quantity
Geermu 7061 6991 -0.97
Xining 5601 5535 -1.22
Shanghai 4579 4494 -1.89
Chongqing 3059 2939 -4.00
Quantities of BIPA and BAPV applications in buildings have been applied in China. The current key
issues, including the substitution rates on fossil fuels, the conversion efficiency of energy and the
economic evaluation, are quite worth studying. The photovoltaic application can achieve the better
economic benefit and higher substitution rates for the large space buildings in city and facilities in
agricultural projects in future. Some local guidelines or regulations are also brought out to strongly
promote the photovoltaic applications installed in buildings with large roof areas.
(2) Application of GSHP
Over 50% of the demonstrated projects in China are located in Shandong, Liaoning, Beijing, Jiangsu
provinces. Influenced by geological and climatic conditions, the systematic efficiency shows large
differences when applied in the severe cold area and the hot-summer and warm-winter area. COPs in
Hongwei Tan et al. / Energy Procedia 103 (2016) 88 93 91

summer and winter are all relatively higher than those in cold area, hot summer and cold winter area
The planning and designing of GSHP system should consider the local diversity, as well as the load
characteristics related to the building types and local climatic conditions. The matching between building
types and the different operation modes, which include continuous operation mode, intermittent operation
mode and other operation modes based on the load intensity or seasons diversity, should also be taken into
consideration to avoid hot stack resulting from the unbalance of heat. A comprehensive assessment
system has been developed as shown Fig.5.
According to some verification testing and researches of GSHP systems, the energy consumption of
transmission process is overlarge because of the partial load in most operating conditions. Due to the lack
of optimization for the transmission systems, the situation can be even worse. In other words, the overall
systematic energy efficiency is even lower than that of the traditional air conditioning systems. As one of
the most typical operation problems of air conditioning systems, the phenomenon of large flow and little
temperature difference should be paid more attention in GSHP systems.
Furthermore, authors find that the energy efficiency of numerous GSHP systems is reduced largely
because of the overlarge transmission energy consumption. Consequently, the effective evaluation of
energy efficiency and suitability for GSHP systems should be paid more attention.

Fig.4 GSHP distribution and COPs in different regions

Fig.5 Suitability analysis of GSHP

92 Hongwei Tan et al. / Energy Procedia 103 (2016) 88 93

(3) Application of ST
The application of ST is closely related to the regional conditions. Based on the quantitative
verification studies from recent ST projects (Fig. 6), the following problems should not be ignored.
a) Plenty of applications do not fit the local solar thermal conditions, leading to the unreasonable
designs of auxiliary thermal sources. As a result, the environmental and economic efficiency cannot be
realized as expected.
b) Efficiency of thermal collectors is largely affected by the local ambient temperature.
c) The demand of hot water is largely related to the local climate and the building types.
The surface cleaning of collectors depends on the local atmosphere environmental quality. Types of
auxiliary thermal resources consist of electric heater, heat pumps, fuel gas heater, fuel oil heater and so on.
Among all these, the electric auxiliary heater is more common, because of the low equipment price,
convenient installation and operation. However, for projects in region with poor radiation conditions and
low assurance rates, the auxiliary electric heaters are used frequently in most time of a year, which is, on
the contrary, against the initial concept of environmental friendly and safety.

Fig.6 Assist heating resource of solar thermal application

Taking Shanghai City as the case study, it reveals that the solar energy in July and August can mainly
meet the hot water demand with a relatively higher assurance rate, which gradually decreases in
September. The actual annual assurance rate of solar thermal energy is about 49%, which is lower than the
designed rate. It can be concluded that the auxiliary heat resource occupies an important position in the
hot-water system, thus the selection and operation of the auxiliary heat resources should be taken
seriously. Based on factors of local energy price, climatic conditions and the performance of collectors,
researches indicate that heat pumps and fuel gas heater are the relatively most appropriate types among all
the auxiliary heat resources. The others, for example the electricity and diesel oil, are not encouraged for
widely application because of the higher energy price and lower economic performance. To be detailed,
the fuel gas is adopted mainly in the severe cold area, the cold area and most parts of the middle areas. At
the same time, the heat pumps are more suitable to be the auxiliary heat resources in the south coastal area.

4. Conclusion

The utilizations of the solar PV, ST and GSHP are believed to be the most promising technologies in
the future. It is also a big challenge for construction industry at the same time. Interdisciplinary
cooperation between the architects and energy engineers could be the key driving force. Moreover, the
exploding metering data sets should be integrated and managed to provide more technical support for
urban energy planning, systematic optimization design and the efficient operation.
Hongwei Tan et al. / Energy Procedia 103 (2016) 88 93 93


This research has been supported by funding of research project Solar energy applied in buildings in
Shanghai region (Shanghai Science and Technology Committee).


[1] National Development and Reform Commission of China, Mid-Long Term Development Plan for Renewable Energy; 2007.
[2] National Development and Reform Commission of China, The 12th Five-Year Plan for Renewable Energy Development;
[3] National Development and Reform Commission of China, Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Construction of China,
Green Building Action Plan; 2013.
[4] Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Construction, PRC, Notice on Further Promoting the Application
of Renewable Energy in Buildings; 2014.

Prof. Hongwei Tan is now in charge of the Research center of Green Building & New
Energy, Tongji university. He have accomplished lots of national and international
research projects in fields of energy in buildings (a three-year project: China-USA
joint research project of suitability study on renewable energy in buildings). Now, he
focuses mainly on GIS based building energy planning on urban scale.