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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Thermally Activated Cooling: A Regional Approach for Estimating Building Adoption

  • Author(s): Edwards, Jennifer L.
  • Marnay, Chris
  • et al.

This paper examines the economic potential for thermally-activated cooling (TAC) technologies as a component of distributed energy resource (DER) systems in California. A geographic information system (GIS) is used to assess the regional variation of TAC potential and to visualize the geographic pattern of potential adoption. The economic potential and feasibility of DER systems in general, and especially TAC, is highly dependent on regional factors such as retail electricity rates, building cooling loads, and building heating loads. Each of these factors varies with location, and their geographic overlap at different sites is an important determinant in a market assessment of DER and TAC. This analysis uses system payback period as the metric to show the regional variation of TAC potential in California office buildings. The DER system payback with and without TAC is calculated for different regions in California using localized values of retail electricity rates and the weather-dependent variation in building cooling and heating loads. This GIS-based method has numerous applications in building efficiency studies where geographically dependent variables, such as space cooling and heating energy use, play an important role.

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