The perfect temperature for reading

It used to look old and dark, but it’s now elegant and light once more – plus incredibly energy-efficient. Moulins’ multimedia library, an old building dated 1975 in the Allier region of central France, underwent a complete facelift over the course of two years, reopening in October 2013. To heat and cool the 3,315-square-metre space, local authorities took advice from the Enerbat department at EDF R&Dand opted for an original form of technology: a groundwater heat pump. They had already made the same choice for the local National Centre for Costume and Scenography and water park. So how does the system work? The heat pump captures the energy present in the water, converts it into heat and carries it through the building, mainly via heated flooring. The technique of geocooling, which redistributes the coolness of aquatic environments, was chosen to cool the rows of books in summer.
The heat pump captures the energy present in the water, converts it into heat and carries it through the building, mainly via heated flooring
The use of a heat pump was made possible by the proximity of the Allier river and by a groundwater table that provides a permanent energy reserve within easy reach, as the water maintains a more or less constant temperature all year round. “This solution meets all the criteria for eco and energy-efficiency: it delivers a reduction in energy consumption, generates renewable energy, and has a positive environmental record,” explains Jean-Pierre Thierry, managing director of technical services for Moulins. Combined with an eco-friendly renovation of the building, which included installing argon double-glazing and 8–20 cm of insulation on the walls, the technology has enabled reductions of almost 50 per cent in energy use and 80 per cent in CO2 emissions.
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