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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Field evaluation of performance of HVAC optimization system in commercial buildings

  • Author(s): Granderson, J
  • Lin, G
  • Singa, R
  • Fernandes, S
  • Touzani, S
  • et al.

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New smart building technologies that offer continuous dynamic optimization of Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) control hold promise to advance building operations for efficiency and grid response. These technologies use data from the control system to determine the analytically optimal setpoints, and then write back the optimal setpoints into the control system to minimize system energy consumption or costs. There are limited studies documenting field validations of these technologies. This paper presents the results from a long-term field evaluation of a model-predictive HVAC optimization system that installed in four commercial buildings. Energy savings analysis was conducted based on pre/post submetered energy use. Across the cohort of evaluation sites, HVAC savings following the implementation of the optimization system were mixed, ranging from 0–9%. Analysis of site operational data showed that occupant comfort was neither positively nor negatively impacted. Key technology adoption considerations and recommendations are summarized in the paper. The technology performs best when HVAC systems are in good working condition, and can be exercised to achieve the full range of its optimized setpoints–however it may not provide extensive additional savings over cases where best practice sequences of operation and reset strategies are already comprehensively implemented.

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