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[EnergyPlus_Support] Ground heat transfer

Hi all,

I'm wondering about the two methods for simulating ground coupling in EnergyPlus. The first is the Slab or Basement preprocessor, now available through the GroundHeatTransfer:<Slab or Basement> objects. The other is Site:GroundDomain:<Slab or Basement>. The former ("preprocessor") has been available with EnergyPlus for a long time, while the latter ("groundDomain") was added recently, I think in 8.1, although the model is based on much older research.

The development team has spent resources on the last two release cycles improving the workflow of the preprocessor method, indicating it is seen as valuable. But it was also decided to add the groundDomain model at about the same time. Does anyone know what the thinking here is/was? The I/O and Engineering References both treat each model independently, without reference to the other, as if the one under discussion were the only model available. 

Is there a time to prefer one over the other? People I know who have used EnergyPlus for a long time tend to prefer the preprocessor and distrust the groundDomain approach, but it's hard to know if this is justified skepticism or just workflow habit. I am working with small, naturally ventilated buildings in warm climates, where ground temperature can be quite important.

Even with the streamlined workflow, the preprocessor approach still requires a lot more work and runtime (an initial run being required since the air temperatures are needed for the ground temperature preprocessor). So if the groundDomain model were acceptable, it would be much preferable.

Thanks for any thoughts and insight people have.


Adams Rackes

Drexel University / Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina



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