Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Sustainable Buildings Research Centre


Ground source heat pump (GSHP) systems and solar photovoltaic thermal (PVT) collectors are among the energy efficient and environmentally friendly technologies. This thesis aims to evaluate and optimise stand-alone GSHP systems and develop an efficient GSHP-PVT system to provide space heating and cooling as well as domestic hot water (DHW) for heating dominated buildings through performance evaluation, optimal design and control optimisation.

To gain a better understanding on the dynamic characteristics and energy performance of stand-alone GSHP systems, a number of experimental tests were carried out based on an existing GSHP with active thermal slab system implemented in the Sustainable Buildings Research Centre (SBRC) at the University of Wollongong. The effects of two configurations (i.e. parallel and series) of the ground heat exchangers (GHEs), different ground loop and slab loop differential pressure set-points and different slab preheating starting time on the energy performance of this system were investigated. The experimental results showed that the GSHP system with the parallel GHEs outperformed that with the series GHEs. Starting the slab preheating earlier with a larger differential pressure set-point in the slab loop resulted in a higher slab surface temperature and indoor air temperature. Using a larger differential pressure set-point in the slab loop achieved a higher COP of the heat pump and a higher COP of the whole system, in comparison with that using a smaller differential pressure set-point in the slab loop. The optimal operation scenario of the system was also determined through the experimental tests.