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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Time-averaged ventilation for optimized control of variable-air-volume systems


Typical Variable Air Volume (VAV) terminals spend the majority of time at their minimum airflow setpoints. These are often higher than the minimum ventilation requirements defined by code, resulting in excess energy use and a risk of over-cooling the spaces. We developed and tested a Time-Averaged Ventilation (TAV) control strategy in an institutional building on the UC Berkeley campus to address this issue. Whenever a zone does not require cooling, TAV alternates the VAV damper between partially open and fully closed so that the average airflow matches a predefined ventilation setpoint. Compared to the existing, base case scenario using single-max VAV logic, this strategy reduced the mean zone airflow fraction from 0.44 to 0.27 during the intervention period. The corresponding reductions in average heating, cooling, and fan power were 41%, 23%, and 15% respectively. In addition to being programmed directly in a native control system, TAV may be applied via sMAP as a low-cost retrofit strategy in any building that has a BACnet network and direct digital control (DDC) to each VAV terminal.

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