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General information

GAEA is a helpful tool for the complex task to design the layout of an earth heat
exchanger (EHX) in an early stage of planning. All relevant parameters for the layout
are taken into account with sufficient accuracy. The analytic model for the calculation
enables fast calculations, and, therefore, allows to analyse different variations of layout.
The results are presented graphically to obtain quick evaluations of the energy and
economic performance.

For more detailed analysis, GAEA can be coupled with input files, which e.g. provide
hourly values of the outdoor temperature or ventilation fluxes from simulations or
measurements. GAEA creates output files, which again can be used with simulation or
spreadsheet programs.

To support the optimisation of an EHX during the planning phase, GAEA can
automatically calculate systems with different layouts. From the large number of results,
systems can be chosen for further improvements and for adjustment to the given
situation.

In general, all program sections of GAEA can be edited successively. All input fields
have prefixed values, which can be replaced by own inputs. The outputs are presented
graphically and are complemented by benchmark figures. Additionally to the program
sections for layout and calculation of EHX, the main menu of GAEA also contains the
possibilities e.g. to save data and results, to print out or to change the key parameters.

The following help texts explain the using of GAEA:

Main menu

Section "Earth heat exchanger / EHX"

Section "Soil"

Section "Climatic values / Climate"

Section "Heating/Ventilation/Air-Conditioning / HVAC"

Section "Costs"

Section "Annual analysis / Year"

Section "Daily analysis / Day"

Section "Optimised earth heat exchanger / Optimum"

Main menu
The GAEA main menu contains the possibilities for loading and saving data, for printing
and for changing the standard key parameters. With the help of the menu, the different
screen layouts can be chosen and the calculations can be started.

File - New

Choose "File - New" to reset all inputs to their default values.

File - Open

Choose "File - Open" to load the data of a GAEA Project which has been saved before.
It is also possible to choose one of the last used data files from the recent list at the end
of the menu "File".

File - Save / Save as ...

Choose one of these items to save the current project for further use.

File - Print
Active form / Whole project

Choose "File - Print" to printout the active form or an overview of the whole project.

File - Close

Choose "File - Close" to exit your GAEA session.

Edit - Preferences
Save active preferences

Use the item "Edit - Save active preferences" to take over the current values of the input
sections as the default values. Then, every time the program starts, these values will be
taken as default values.

Open preferences

Choose "Open preferences" to restore the original state of the preferences.

View

With the help of the menu "View", the different sections of the project can be opened
and closed. A mark in front shows, which menus are opened at the moment. A click on
an open working level closes it, a click on a closed working level opens it.
Window

In the menu "Window" you can activate an already opened working level for editing.
The mark shows, which working level is activated at the moment. A click at one of the
black working levels will activate it for editing. Closed working levels are shown grey.
These must be opened before with the help of the menu "View".

A click at the menu point "Arrange" arranges all opened working levels so that all of
them will be visible.

Help (?) - Contents

This menu item opens the help texts. The help of GAEA can also be opened by pressing
the function key F1. Then, the corresponding topic of the help system will be shown.

Help (?) - Language

Here, the language of the program's interface can be changed. The available languages
are German and English. After choosing the language, the program has to be restarted.

Help (?) - Info

This item opens the product information of GAEA with data concerning the copyright
and the contact address for further questions.

Section "Earth heat exchanger / EHX"


The first step for the calculation of an existing or a planned earth heat exchanger is the
description of the system. In GAEA, the input of all relevant data is easy.

Number of pipes

Specify here the number of parallel pipes, passed through by air. GAEA assumes that all
pipes have the same parameters like length, depth and surrounding soil. If this is not the
case, the total EHX must be split in single parts for which this condition is met.
Afterwards, all the single EHX can be calculated by GAEA and the results can be
summed up to the total EHX.

Length of pipes / Pipe diameter

Define with the help of the input fields or the scrollbars the length of the pipes in m and
their diameter in mm. If there are parallel pipes, please type the length of one of the
pipes, not the total length.

Distance between pipes

If you whish to calculate more than one pipe, please define here the distance between
the single pipes. If the distance is not equal for all pipes, please choose the mean value.
Depth of pipes

Define here the depth of the pipes under the earth's surface in which the middle of the
pipe is placed. If the depth of the EHX is not constant for the whole length one can use
the button "Details ()" to make more precise data. For 100 segments along the EHX
you can fix the depth in the list "Depth in m". By clicking "Accept", GAEA
automatically determines the intermediate values for these sampling points and uses
them for the calculations. By clicking the button "Correct", all segments will get the
mean depth as defined before.

With the button "OK" the inputs for the depth will be confirmed. The field "Depth of
pipes" in the menu "Earth heat exchanger" will then display the mean value of all
segments. The button "Cancel" quits the input of details without taking over the values.

Distance from building

Define here the distance of the middle of the pipes to buildings near to them. If the
distance of the EHX is not constant for the whole length one can use the button "Details
()" to make more precise definitions. For 100 segments along the EHX you can fix
the distance in the list "Distance from walls". By clicking "Accept", GAEA
automatically determines the intermediate values for these sampling points and uses
them for the calculations. By clicking the button "Correct", all segments will get the
mean distance as defined before. Additionally, you can change also the indoor
temperature of the building as well as the U-value of the building's walls in W/(m K).
With the button "OK" the inputs for the detailed distances will be confirmed. The field
"Distance from building" in the menu "Earth heat exchanger" will then display the mean
value of all segments. The button "Cancel" quits the input of details without taking over
the values.

Fan

Define here, whether the fan for the air flow through the EHX is installed before or after
the EHX. GAEA automatically adds the heat which originates from its operation to the
air inside the pipe in the first or the last segment of the EHX, respectively.

Section "Soil"
In the section "Soil" the type of soil will be characterized, which surrounds the earth
heat exchanger. Additionally, the groundwater level will be set. Usually, the
characteristics of soil are not known exactly, especially in an early stage of planning.
Besides, the properties of soil have seasonal variations. If they change within short time
periods, the operation of the EHX will be influenced. Instead modelling these complex
and difficult to predict behaviour, GAEA makes it possible by its fast calculation
routines to make parameter variations. Starting with an assumed soil, several
calculations with different density, heat capacity and thermal conductivity are carried
out to isolate the best and worst case for the operation of the EHX.
Type of soil

Here you can choose the type of soil from a list which meets best the soil surrounding
the EHX. The corresponding properties are taken over automatically.
(Data source: F. Jger, J. Reichert, H. Herz: berprfung eines Erdwrmespeichers, Forschungsbericht T 81-200,
Bundesministerium fr Forschung und Technologie, Bonn, 1981.)

Density / Heat capacity / Thermal conductivity

In these input fields or with the scrollbars the pre-settings for the density of the soil in
kg/m, the specific heat capacity in kJ/(kg K) and the thermal conductivity in W/(m K)
can be changed by the user for e.g. parameter variations.

Ground water level

Define here the depth of the ground water under the earth's surface at the location of the
EHX. The temperature of ground water is nearly constant during the whole year. An
EHX which is installed near the ground water will be influenced by it significantly.

Section "Climatic values / Climate"


Heating and cooling loads of buildings, and, therefore the operation of an EHX depends
on the climatic conditions. The easiest way to select them for the calculations is to use
the given climatic regions (for Germany) or stations (for Europe). For Germany, the
corresponding climatic region can also be found by clicking on the map or by searching
it with the help of the zip code. If climatic data for a special location are existing, these
can also be used directly as input for the calculations. Besides - mostly for testing - also
a sinusoidal course of temperatures can be chosen as climatic model.

Temperature model

By the choice of the temperature model one defines which values for outdoor
temperature should be used for the calculations with GAEA.

Climatic region (Germany)

The choice of the point "Climatic region" opens a map of Germany. You can set the
climatic region either by choosing it by name from the drop-down list, by clicking at the
map or by searching for the corresponding region with the help of the zip code. For each
region an exemplary plot of the outdoor temperature with hourly values has been
generated from Meteonorm data. This plot contains typical properties of the climatic
region e.g. the mean temperature of the months or maximum and minimum
temperatures. This data is not equivalent with direct measurements and means no
weather forecast

Climate station (Europe)

The choice of the point "Climatic station" opens a map of Europe. You can set the
climatic station either by choosing it by name from the drop-down list or by clicking at
the red points at the map of Europe. For the different stations exemplary courses of the
outdoor air temperatures with hourly values have been generated from Meteonorm data.

Sinusoidal course

The choice of the point "Sinusoidal course" enables the input of characteristic values for
the corresponding outdoor temperature model. By this, a sinusoidal yearly course with a
super-imposed sinusoidal daily course of temperature in generated. The sinusoidal daily
course assumes the maximum value at 3 pm with a maximum variation from the daily
mean of 6 K.

File

By choosing a climatic data file, the outdoor air temperatures at a special location (e.g.
from measurements) can be used for the calculations with GAEA. GAEA needs hourly
values for one year (8760 values). The name of the file can be chosen freely. Please
enter the number of lines which are above the values (file header, these lines will be
skipped by GAEA). Define also the format for the temperature values. E.g.
"XXXXXXXXXAAAA.A" means: The file contains nine blanks before the column
with temperatures. The temperature values have a maximum of four digits before the
decimal point (including sign) and one post decimal position. The unit of the values
must be C. The decimal point must be placed for the whole file in the same column.
After clicking "OK", GAEA checks the file and takes it over for the calculations. If an
error in the data format is found, GAEA stops checking and gives the information, in
which line the error appears.

Maximum monthly value

The maximum monthly value is the maximum of all the monthly mean values of
outdoor air temperatures.

Yearly mean temperature

The yearly mean temperature is the arithmetic mean value of all hourly outdoor air
temperatures.

Minimum monthly value

The minimum monthly value is the minimum of all the monthly mean values of outdoor
air temperatures.

Month with maximum temperature / Day with maximum temperature

These two fields define the typical day in the year with the maximum outdoor air
temperature. If the temperature model "Sinusoidal course" is chosen, this day can be set
with scrollbars at the left part of the screen. By the temperature models "Climatic
region", "Climatic station" or "File" the real maximum outdoor air temperature must not
necessary occur at this day.
Name of climatic region

If the temperature model is set to "Climatic region (Germany)", one of the following
regions can be chosen:

1. Nord- und Ostseekste


2. Norddeutsches Tiefland
3. Ballungsgebiete
4. Mittelgebirge ohne Hochlagen
5. Franken und nrdliches Baden-Wrttemberg
6. Nrdlicher Oberrheingraben
7. Sdlicher Oberrheingraben
8. Donaubecken und Alpenvorland bis 600 m .NN
9. Alpenvorland ber 600 m .NN und nordwestlicher Schwarzwald
10. Schwarzwald und schwbische und frnkische Alb
11. Hochlagen der Mittelgebirge
12. Bodensee mit Umgebung

Choice by zip code

Enter here the five numbers of a German zip code (no PO boxes). GAEA determines
automatically the corresponding climatic region.

Section "Heating/Ventilation/Air-conditioning / HVAC"


An essential step for the design of EHX with GAEA is the input of information about
the requirements for heating, ventilation and air-conditioning. The demand of
ventilation can be set as a fixed value or taken over from a file with simulated or
measured data. GAEA calculates the behaviour of the flow inside the pipe system and
the energy demand for the air flow through the EHX.

Building

By the choice of the building model, one defines how the building is described for the
calculations with GAEA.

Quasi stationary

In the quasi stationary building model, all values for the building description are
supposed as constant during the course of a year.

File

By choosing a HVAC file, hourly data (e.g. from measurements or simulations) for the
ventilation flow in m/h, the set point temperature in C and / or the fan power can be
used for the calculations. GAEA needs hourly data for the whole year (8760 values).
The name of the file can be chosen freely. Please define the number of lines which are
above the values (file header, these lines will be skipped by GAEA). Define also the
format in which any values are saved to the file. E.g.
"XXXXXXXXXVVVV.VXSSSS.S" means: The file contains nine blanks in front of
the column with the ventilation flow. The values for the ventilation flow have
(maximum) four digits before and one digit after the decimal point. Separated by one
blank, there are the columns with the set point temperature in the same format. This file
contains no data about the fan power. The decimal points must be placed for the whole
file in the same column. After clicking "OK", GAEA checks the file and takes it over
for the calculations. If an error in the data format is found, GAEA stops checking and
gives the information, in which line the error appears.

Building volume

Define here the ventilated volume of the building.

Air change rate

Specify here the air change rate which should be supplied by the EHX.

Ventilation flow

Instead of air change rate you can specify the volume rate of air which flows through
the EHX.

EHX control

By the choice of the EHX control one defines the conditions when the EHX is switched
on or off.

Temperature range

Set point temperature / Boundary value for heating / Boundary value for cooling / EHX
temperature offset

The control by temperatures compares the outdoor air temperature with the air
temperature at the outlet of the EHX with the set point temperature for the building.

The EHX will be used for heating, if the outdoor air temperature is lower than the
boundary value for heating. The EHX will be used for cooling, if the outdoor air
temperature is higher than the boundary value for cooling.

Obviously, the EHX will be used only, if the air-temperature after the EHX is nearer to
the set point temperature than the outdoor air temperature. This restriction can be
modified with the help of a temperature offset: For an EHX temperature offset of 0 K,
the EHX will be used immediately, in case the air temperature after the EHX is nearer
to the set point temperature than the outdoor air temperature. If the EHX offset
temperature is e.g. 2 K, the EHX will only be operated, if the air temperature after the
EHX is by 2 K nearer to the set point temperature than the outdoor air temperature.
Period of time

In the control by time, one can explicitly set the days or hours during which the EHX
should be switched on or off. There is no check if the air temperature after the EHX is
useful for the air-conditioning of the building. E.g. especially in spring and autumn the
outdoor air temperature can be during some hours nearer to the set point temperature
than the air temperature after the EHX. In this case, the calculated values of GAEA for
the thermal input and output (see section "Annual analysis") do not represent
meaningful contributions for heating und cooling.

Flow
Constant pressure drop / Pressure drop in pipes / Total pressure drop

These data describe the flow resistance through the EHX. The constant pressure drop
includes the resistance of filters or other installations in front of or behind of the pipes.
The pressure drop inside the pipes is calculated automatically by GAEA by means of
flow and the properties of pipe parameters. (Model: linear pipes with smooth
boundaries.) Together this amounts to the total pressure drop in Pa.

Fan efficiency

Fan efficiency describes how good the fan uses the electric energy to drive the air, i.e.
how it overcomes the pressure drop. Fan efficiency defines the amount of waste heat
created by the fan. This waste heat is accounted as heat gain to the air in the energy
balance of the EHX.

Fan power / Specific energy

Fan power results from the ventilation flow, the pressure drop inside the EHX and the
efficiency of the fan. Specific energy describes the amount of electric energy, which is
needed by the fan to drive the air.

Section "Costs"
For an economic assessment of an EHX its costs (e.g. for pipes and installation) as well
as the economic boundary conditions (e.g. inflation rate and energy costs) must be
assumed. In an economic view, energy savings of an EHX must compete with other
measures for energy savings. GAEA provides, based on the internal interest rate, the
information which is necessary for a comparison with different energy saving measures.

As the costs for constructing an EHX are depending on the location and may be
different from one month to another, the pre-settings for costs in GAEA can only give a
rough estimate for the real prices.
EHX
Costs for pipes / Costs for groundwork / Fixed investments / Cost for maintenance /
Period of utilization

These settings describe the costs for construction and operation of the EHX.
Investments contain e.g. the costs for filters and the connection to the buildings air-
conditioning. The costs for maintenance are given in percent of the investments and
include e.g. the change of filters. All specific inputs (e.g. costs for pipes in /m) are
automatically converted to the calculated system (e.g. with the help of the length of the
pipe(s) to the costs of pipes in ).

Energy
Costs for heating / Costs for cooling / Costs for electricity

These settings describe the energy costs which are saved or must be paid for the
operation of the EHX. The operation decreases heating and cooling loads for the
conditioning of the building for which normally heating and cooling costs have to be
paid. On the other hand, the ventilator of the EHX needs electricity for which has to be
paid.

Economic conditions
Interest rate / Inflation rate (general) / Inflation rate (energy)

These settings describe the economic conditions. The interest rate is the (constant) rate
which the user has to pay or applies for loans. The inflation rates may be different and
are therefore distinguished from the general inflation rate, e.g. the costs for the material,
and the inflation rate for the costs of energy. Further information about economic
evaluations can be found in the literature [7, 8].

Section "Annual analysis / Year"


GAEA calculates the EHX-system with two degrees of accuracy. For a general
evaluation the following values are calculated and graphically displayed in the section
"Annual analysis":

contribution for heating and cooling,


inlet and outlet temperature (annual maximum and minimum as well as hourly
values),
efficiency factor for heating / cooling,
period of use,
payback time and internal interest rate,
energy costs of the saved energy.

The graphical output can be zoomed continuously to show periods between 24 hour and
the whole year. The numerical values can be saved to a file for further use e.g. in a
spreadsheet or simulation program.
EHX

Here, the annual energy results are summarized.

The value "Heat gains" gives the total energy amount by which the air through the EHX
was heated up during the year. The value "Heat loss" gives the total amount of energy
by which the air through the EHX was cooled down during the year. Heat gain and heat
loss are identical with the contribution for the heating and the cooling of the building by
the EHX. But, if the EHX control is done by time only, all energy amounts are added
during the period of use of the EHX, although they may not be useful for heating or
cooling the building during some periods.

The values for the maximum or minimum inlet and outlet air temperature after the EHX
show the gain of comfort which is achieved by the EHX especially at hot or cold days.

The efficiency factor for heating resp. cooling is defined as the quotient between the
temperature difference of air temperature after and before the EHX and the difference of
temperature of undisturbed soil and before the EHX.

The values here are mean values of the time period for heating resp. cooling.

The period of use means the number of hours during a year during which the EHX is in
operation (depending on the EHX control). The maximum is 8760 hours (equal to 365
days).

Costs

Here, yearly economic results are summarized.

The payback time of the EHX, its annuity and internal interest rate are shown for the
investment (by means of the inputs in the menu "Costs") as well as the cost of the
energy which is saved by the EHX for the air-conditioning of the building. Additionally,
the time of operation of the EHX is given as a reference value for the payback time.
Further information about economic evaluations can be found in the literature [7, 8].

Diagram

EHX temperatures / Annual heat exchange

One can choose here, whether the diagram should show temperature values or heat
flows. The x axis presents the time. Depending on the marked button, the y axis
indicates the inlet and outlet air temperatures in C or the heat flux inside the EHX in
kW (positive value: air is heated; negative value: air is cooled). Inlet and outlet air
temperatures and heat transfer are only marked up in the diagram during times where
the EHX is activated.
The diagram can be zoomed continuously. One can click into the diagram with the left
mouse button and move with pressed mouse button to mark a range which is interesting
in more detail. The mouse cursor displays the date in the year. When the mouse button
is released, the diagram zooms to the selected part. To zoom to the maximum resolution
(24 hours), one can just click at one point of the diagram. To get back to the view of the
whole year, the diagram must be clicked by the right mouse button.

Additionally, an interesting point of the year can be picked with the cursor by holding
down the shift key and clicking with the left mouse button. Then, the section "Daily
analysis" will be automatically opened and the analysis for this day will be calculated.

Save output file

By clicking the button "Save", an output file in ASCII-format is created with the values
of the annual analysis. The file contains a header with the name of the project and is
then followed by its data, separated by spaces:

month / day / hour (each double digit),


control: EHX on / off (1 or 0),
ventilation flow in m/h (six pre decimal places, one fractional digit),
inlet air temperature of the EHX in C (four pre decimal places, one fractional digit),
outlet air temperature of the EHX in C (four pre decimal places, one fractional digit),
heat flow inside the EHX (six pre decimal places, one fractional digit),
fan power in W (four pre decimal places, one fractional digit).

Section "Optimised earth heat exchanger / Optimum"


For the optimisation of EHX systems with GAEA, the default values can be taken over
and can be adapted to the real conditions of the layout. Because of the rather quick
analytic calculation models, parameter variations can be carried out without much
effort.

Especially the early stage of the planning process can be supported by the automatic
calculation method of GAEA. The following figure shows the results of a calculation
during 'one night' with a large number of EHX systems with different values for the
number of pipes, the length of pipes, etc (see "Options"). All useful results for the given
layout situation with corresponding boundary conditions (soil, climate, heating / cooling
/ air-conditioning and costs) are presented with reference to their economic and energy
behaviour. From this cloud of solutions the new starting points for further optimising
can be chosen.
Calculation - Options

Here, the range of layouts of the EHX can be limited, which GAEA should use for
optimum search. From these chosen values, combinations are built randomly and then
calculated. The following values can be chosen:

number of pipes: 1; 2; 3; 4; 5; 6; 7; 8; 9; 10
length of pipes in m: 1; 2; 5; 10; 20; 30; 50; 75; 100; 150; 200
pipe diameter in mm: 25; 50; 75; 100; 150; 200; 250; 300; 400; 500; 750; 1000; 1500;
2000
distance between pipes in m: 0.5; 0.7; 1; 2; 3; 5; 7.5; 10
depth of pipes in m: 0.5; 0.7; 1; 2; 3; 5; 7.5; 10
fan position: before or after EHX

When determining the economics of the different EWT layouts, the costs for the pipes
(per m) must be considered as dependent on their diameter. The model for optimisation,
used in GAEA, assumes, that the price per m pipe is proportional to the square of the
pipe's diameter.

Confirm your inputs by pressing "OK" or cancel by clicking the cancel button.

Calculation - New start

Use this button to begin the optimum search. GAEA starts with the calculation of all
possible combinations for the EHX system. A progress bar shows the state of the
current calculation as well as the number of calculated and displayed combinations.
(EHX combinations with a negative internal interest rate are not shown in the diagram).
All results are saved into the file "Optimum.log" which can be found in the GAEA
directory. The calculation can be aborted at any time by clicking the stop button and
will end after the current calculation. The diagram displays all EHX combinations in the
x-y coordinate system in terms of their economic (internal interest rate) and their energy
gains (contribution to cooling plus contribution to heating). For a description of the
results, see section "Annual analysis / Year").

Calculation - Continue

With the button "Continue" an already aborted optimum search can be continued, if the
boundary conditions (especially of the section "Costs"), which influence the calculation,
have not been changed.

Best energy value / Best economic value

By clicking the button "Show", the best value in the diagram is marked and a short
summary of the corresponding EHX combination in shown. This combination can be
taken over by pressing the button "Commit" for further work. By clicking the button
"Cancel" the window will be closed without taking over the values.

Additionally, every EHX combination can be marked and shown by simultaneously


pressing the shift key and clicking with the mouse. By this, the parameters for every
combination can be taken over for further work with GAEA.

The diagram can be zoomed continuously. One can click in the diagram with the left
mouse button and move with pressed mouse button to mark a range which is interesting
in more detail. When the mouse button is released, the diagram zooms to the selected
part. To get back to the view of the whole year, the diagram can be clicked by the right
mouse button.