Modifications to the conventional design methods for borehole heat exchangers based on a novel response factor model

Tian You, Xianting Li, Hongxing Yang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


For ground source heat pumps with boreholes, the rule-of-thumb and thermal performance test (TPT) methods are commonly adopted for borehole design but suffer from inaccuracy. The response factor model can calculate the time-varying soil heat transfer of boreholes fast and accurately. Based on the response factor model, the characteristic diagrams of borehole heat transfer are summarized to show the influential laws of different factors (borehole inlet temperature, velocity of fluid inside the pipe, initial soil temperature, soil thermophysical properties, and operation time). The characteristic diagrams can be used as a new design method that improves the accuracy of the rule-of-thumb method by considering different influential factors and avoiding the subjective errors of designers. For different soils, the borehole design errors of the new diagram method are −5% to 10%, which are much less than the errors (−15% to 72%) of the conventional rule-of-thumb method. In addition, a modification to the TPT method is also proposed using the response factor model. The borehole design errors of the conventional TPT method (48 h testing) can be reduced by 13%–20% using the derived correction factors. The proposed modification methods contribute to more reasonable borehole design, improved heating reliability as well as increased energy efficiency.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110848
JournalEnergy and Buildings
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2021


  • Borehole design
  • Ground source heat pump
  • Response factor
  • Rule-of-thumb method
  • Thermal performance test

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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