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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The design and evaluation of integrated envelope and lighting control strategies for commercial buildings


This study investigates control strategies for coordinating the variable solar-optical properties of a dynamic building envelope system with a daylight controlled electric lighting system to reduce electricity consumption and increase comfort in the perimeter zone of commercial buildings. Control strategy design can be based on either simple, instantaneous measured data, or on complex, predictive algorithms that estimate the energy consumption for a selected operating state of the dynamic envelope and lighting system. The potential benefits of optimizing the operation of a dynamic envelope and lighting system are (1) significant reductions in electrical energy end-uses - lighting, and cooling due to solar and lighting heat gains - over that achieved by conventional static envelope and lighting systems, (2) significant reductions in peak demand, and (3) increased occupant visual and thermal comfort. The DOE-2 building energy simulation program was used to model two dynamic envelope and lighting systems, an automated venetian blind and an electrochromic glazing system, and their control strategies under a range of building conditions. The energy performance of simple control strategies are compared to the optimum performance of a theoretical envelope and lighting system to determine the maximum potential benefit of using more complex, predictive control algorithms. Results indicate that (1) predictive control algorithms may significantly increase the energy-efficiency of systems with non-optimal solar-optical properties such as the automated venetian blind, and (2) simpler, non-predictive control strategies may suffice for more advanced envelope systems 1 incorporating spectrally selective, narrow-band electrochromic coatings.

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