Solar Heating and Cooling systems are a virtuous alternative to conventional air conditioning plants, as a renewable energy source (solar energy) is exploited.

In this paper the coupling of low temperature solar devices with an innovative desiccant-based air handling unit, which meets the sensible and latent loads of a simulated lecture room, is analyzed through TRNSYS dynamic simulation software. The components have been characterized by means of experimental tests carried out at the test facility of Università degli Studi del Sannio. The desiccant-based air handling unit current set-up allows summer operation only. However, heating operation is also simulated, as comfort conditions can be maintained in the conditioned space exploiting solar thermal energy also in winter, with some modifications to the air handling unit. A parametric analysis is performed to compare different technical solutions (collector types, surface, tilt angle) and to identify the optimal one, taking into account energy, economic and environmental performance with respect to a reference system.

The best case in terms of energy and environmental performance is represented by evacuated collectors, achieving a primary energy saving of 64% and a CO2 emissions reduction of 61%; flat-plate collectors are instead the best solution in terms of pay-back period (6 years).

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