Modeling electric load and water consumption impacts from an integrated thermal energy and rainwater storage system for residential buildings in Texas

C.R. Upshaw, J.D. Rhodes and M.E. Webber, March 2016 (Citation)


The United States’ built environment is a significant direct and indirect consumer of energy and water. In Texas, and other parts of the Southern and Western US, air conditioning loads, particularly from residential buildings, contribute significantly to the peak electricity load on the grid, straining transmission. In parallel, water resources in these regions are strained by growing populations and shrinking supplies. One potential method to address both of these issues is to develop integrated thermal energy and auxiliary water (e.g. rainwater, greywater, etc.) storage and management systems that reduce peak load and freshwater consumption. This analysis focuses on a proposed integrated thermal energy and rainwater storage (ITHERST) system that is incorporated into a residential air-source chiller/heat pump with hydronic distribution. This paper describes a step-wise hourly thermodynamic model of the thermal storage system to assess on-peak performance, and a daily volume-balance model of auxiliary water collection and consumption to assess water savings potential. While the model is generalized, this analysis uses a case study of a single family home in Austin, Texas to illustrate its capabilities. The results indicate this ITHERST system could reduce on-peak air conditioning electric power demand by over 75%, with increased overall electric energy consumption of approximately 7–9%, when optimally sized. Additionally, the modeled rainwater collection reduced municipal water consumption by approximately 53–89%, depending on the system size.


C.R. Upshaw, J.D. Rhodes and M.E. Webber, “Modeling Electric Load and Water Consumption Impacts from an Integrated Thermal Energy and Rainwater Storage System for Residential Buildings in Texas,” Applied Energy (2016).