How did the controller concept evolve?
With over ten years of experience in installing renewable energies in the Irish marketplace, we at Greentherm have witnessed a remarkable transformation in the controller concept. Through our extensive installations and careful examination of other systems, we have identified significant weaknesses in the products available in the market. This realisation spurred us to develop our own solution that better caters to the specific requirements of the Irish climate. Leveraging our expertise and accumulated knowledge, we have successfully crafted a controller that surpasses existing offerings, ensuring optimal performance and reliability in renewable energy systems
Extending the System Life Expectancy
The significance of the compressor as a key component in a heat pump cannot be overstated. It is not only the most crucial element but also the most expensive to replace in the event of a failure.
In a typical heat pump installation, the compressor is started whenever there is a demand fro the heating system and stopped once that demand is met. In homes with multiple thermostats, this means the compressor can start and stop numerous times within an hour.
However, such frequent cycling of the compressor can lead to unnecessary strain and increased wear and tear, ultimately reducing its overall lifespan. To mitigate this issue, Greentherm has developed a heat pump controller that, when integrated with a well-designed system, minimises the number of starts and stops the heat pump experiences. By doing so, we help ensure a longer life expectancy for the compressor, promoting durability and reliability in our heat pump systems.
Optimising for the Irish Market
When combined with thermal storage tanks, such as a Buffer tank, the controller maximises the utilisation of night rate electricity. By efficiently loading up the storage cylinder to a high temperature during the period when energy is cheapest, the storage energy can be drawn off throughout the day.
The controller eliminates the need for floor screed loading, effectively preventing thermal overheating of the building. This ensures optimal temperature control and comfort without unnecessary energy waste.
In the Irish market, night rate tariffs vary between winter and summer, with a one-hour time difference during daylight savings. In winter, the night rate runs from 11pm until 8am, while in summer, it operates from midnight until 9am. The Greentherm controller automatically adjusts for this time change, guaranteeing that the system always utilises the most cost-effective electricity for powering the installation.
High Cost of 3 Phase Power
Many European countries have 3 phase power as the standard electrical connection to homes. This means that installing larger or multiple heat pumps in larger houses poses no problem, as the power supply can handle higher power demands.
In Ireland, however, single-phase power is the standard supply to an average home, which imposes limitations on the total electrical supply capacity. Consequently, it is typically only feasible to install one unit per household. Single-phase air-to-water heat pumps have an upper limit in terms of heat output. As a result, larger houses may require the use of an oil or gas boiler as a backup to meet the heat load demand.
The Greentherm controller is capable of intelligently managing this switch, ensuring that the most efficient energy source is utilised to meet the system demands, to the extend practical, without compromising comfort.
Easy Integration of Other Renewable Technology
The Greentherm heat pump controller has always facilitated the integration of solar thermal systems for heating hot water and providing additional support for space heating. More recently, Greentherm has developed an optional integration feature for solar Photovoltaic (PV) systems. Considering that heat pumps are often the largest consumers of electricity in residential installation, each kilowatt (unit) of electricity they utilise yields a multiplier in terms of thermal kilowatts of energy output.
Recognising that standard PV installations frequently generate electricity when there is no immediate demand, Greentherm made the decision to develop an additional innovative control feature. This feature optimises heat pump operation based on heat/hot water demand and availability of surplus power from a solar PV installation.
Greentherm’s proposition is to utilise the surplus electricity to power the heat pump, thereby generating multiple units of free thermal energy. This approach offers a significantly better prospect than simply allowing the energy to dissipate into the national grid without benefiting you.