Is the summer heat getting too hot to handle? Hot summer weather has forced the owners of large properties to think about cooling: how the living and working conditions could be improved by cooling down the building? A hybrid heating system is a perfect solution for that.

Hot summer days and tropical nights are also becoming more common in Northern Europe. For others, the heat waves are the best time of the summer, while for some of us, the mere thought of the upcoming heat wave and sleepless nights makes us sweat.

The increasingly common hot weather has also forced owners of large properties to think about cooling their buildings down. While detached houses can solve the cooling issue with an air source heat pump, the situation can be a bit more complicated in an apartment building.

District cooling is growing, but its availability is still limited

Especially in larger cities, district cooling is the go-to solution for an increasing number of property owners who want to keep their indoor temperatures mellow even during heat waves. In addition to residential buildings, district cooling is often used, for example, by hospitals and data centers.

District cooling is a great way to cool down buildings. Properties located within the area of the district cooling network should investigate the possibility of joining the network if they are looking for a solution to their cooling needs.

District cooling substation

District cooling substation designed and manufactured by HögforsGST provides cooling for SEB Bank’s buildings in Stockholm

However, the availability of district cooling is still quite limited, as district cooling is only available to properties in the area of the district cooling network. Also, the investment cost required to join the district cooling network can be too high for many properties.

However, this problem can be solved with a rather unconventional way – by choosing the right heating system!

If it has a heat pump, it can also take care of cooling – A hybrid heating system works both ways

An increasing number of properties are choosing modern hybrid heating as their heating system. Hybrid heating combines several different sources of energy under one seamless system.

However, the strengths of hybrid heating are not limited to heating alone, as the same system can also be equipped for cooling purposes. If a property cannot connect to the district cooling system, then a hybrid is a viable option for the property’s cooling needs.

The most popular heat sources in a hybrid heating system are district heating, exhaust air heat recovery, or geothermal heat. In systems utilizing heat recovery or geothermal heat, a heat pump is required.

And if the system has a heat pump, it can also be used for cooling!

A hybrid heating system cools efficiently – Surplus heat can also be utilized

What is the difference between cooling a building down with a large heat pump in a hybrid system versus multiple smaller air source heat pumps?

Both heat pumps work on the same principle, but in the hybrid system, one large heat pump produces energy for the needs of the entire property. The main purpose of the hybrid system is of course to produce heat in the winter season, but the same heat pump can also be used to produce cooling energy in the summer.

Cooling energy can be produced either actively or passively. In active cooling, the heat pump produces cooling energy, while in passive cooling, cooling energy is taken directly from, for example, a borehole without the help of a heat pump.

In the cooling process, surplus heat is generated, which can be easily used to heat the property’s hot domestic water, condense it in the open air or, in the best case, sell it to the district heating network to heat neighboring properties. In a geothermal hybrid, surplus heat can be stored in thermal wells, so it can be used again during the heating season.

Volvo Truck Center Jyväskylä’s HybridHEAT system provides heating and cooling with geothermal heat and district heating

One large heat pump can replace dozens of smaller ones

As we have learned so far, a hybrid system can produce both heating and cooling. In order to function as a cooling system, the hybrid needs some additional equipment: in-room evaporator units, a surplus heat condenser system, and a pipeline that transfers cooling energy from the heat pump to the rooms.

While traditional heat distribution functions through, for example, radiators, cooling energy is distributed to the apartments through ventilation or apartment-specific cooling radiators, to name a couple of examples. Thus, there is no need to install air source heat pumps in the apartments since all spaces are cooled through a centralized hybrid system.

Compared to individual heat pumps, centralized cooling can be a better solution also in terms of aesthetics and living comfort. An owner who is worried about the property’s appearance will surely appreciate the fact that a hybrid system, unlike air source heat pumps, does not require outdoor units that ruin the facade.

In addition, refrigerant management is safer when cooling works through one large system instead of dozens of small heat pumps.

A hybrid solution is therefore an efficient and environmentally friendly way to produce heating as well as cooling. When the hybrid system is also equipped for cooling, a property owner gets the most out of their system investment.

In addition to the above-mentioned facts, the surplus heat generated during cooling can be efficiently used for heating domestic water or even sold to the district heating network, which reduces energy costs even more. Hybrid cooling is thus a great choice for a modern and energy-efficient property!