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Title: Balancing Hydronic Systems in Multifamily Buildings

In multifamily hydronic systems, temperature imbalance may be caused by undersized piping, improperly adjusted balancing valves, inefficient water temperature and flow levels, and owner/occupant interaction with the boilers, distribution, and controls. The imbalance leads to tenant discomfort, higher energy use intensity, and inefficient building operation. This research, conducted by Building America team Partnership for Advanced Residential Retrofit, explores cost-effective distribution upgrades and balancing measures in multifamily hydronic systems, providing a resource to contractors, auditors, and building owners on best practices to improve tenant comfort and lower operating costs. The team surveyed existing knowledge on cost-effective retrofits for optimizing distribution in typical multifamily hydronic systems, with the aim of identifying common situations and solutions, and then conducted case studies on two Chicago area buildings with known balancing issues in order to quantify the extent of temperature imbalance. At one of these buildings a booster pump was installed on a loop to an underheated wing of the building. This study found that unit temperature in a multifamily hydronic building can vary as much as 61°F, particularly if windows are opened or tenants use intermittent supplemental heating sources like oven ranges. Average temperature spread at the building as a result of this retrofitmore » decreased from 22.1°F to 15.5°F.« less
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  1. Partnership for Advanced Residential Retrofit, Chicago, IL (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Partnership for Advanced Residential Retrofit, Chicago, IL (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Building Technologies Office (EE-5B)
Country of Publication:
United States
residential; Residential Buildings; PARR; Building America; multifamily; hydronic; balance; balancing; imbalance; temperature; oven; range; spread​