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Title: Improving HVAC operational efficiency in small-and medium-size commercial buildings

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Publication Date:
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)
OSTI Identifier:
Grant/Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Publisher's Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Building and Environment
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 120; Journal Issue: C; Related Information: CHORUS Timestamp: 2017-10-04 22:22:23; Journal ID: ISSN 0360-1323
Country of Publication:
United Kingdom

Citation Formats

Kim, Woohyun, Katipamula, Srinivas, and Lutes, Robert. Improving HVAC operational efficiency in small-and medium-size commercial buildings. United Kingdom: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.1016/j.buildenv.2017.05.010.
Kim, Woohyun, Katipamula, Srinivas, & Lutes, Robert. Improving HVAC operational efficiency in small-and medium-size commercial buildings. United Kingdom. doi:10.1016/j.buildenv.2017.05.010.
Kim, Woohyun, Katipamula, Srinivas, and Lutes, Robert. Tue . "Improving HVAC operational efficiency in small-and medium-size commercial buildings". United Kingdom. doi:10.1016/j.buildenv.2017.05.010.
title = {Improving HVAC operational efficiency in small-and medium-size commercial buildings},
author = {Kim, Woohyun and Katipamula, Srinivas and Lutes, Robert},
abstractNote = {},
doi = {10.1016/j.buildenv.2017.05.010},
journal = {Building and Environment},
number = C,
volume = 120,
place = {United Kingdom},
year = {Tue Aug 01 00:00:00 EDT 2017},
month = {Tue Aug 01 00:00:00 EDT 2017}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record at 10.1016/j.buildenv.2017.05.010

Citation Metrics:
Cited by: 1work
Citation information provided by
Web of Science

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  • Small- and medium-size (<100,000 sf) commercial buildings (SMBs) represent over 95% of the U.S. commercial building stock and consume over 60% of total site energy consumption. Many of these buildings use rudimentary controls that are mostly manual, with limited scheduling capability, no monitoring, or failure management. Therefore, many of these buildings are operated inefficiently and consume excess energy. SMBs typically use packaged rooftop units (RTUs) that are controlled by an individual thermostat. There is increased urgency to improve the operating efficiency of existing commercial building stock in the United States for many reasons, chief among them being to mitigate themore » climate change impacts. Studies have shown that managing set points and schedules of the RTUs will result in up to 20% energy and cost savings. Another problem associated with RTUs is short cycling, when an RTU goes through ON and OFF cycles too frequently. Excessive cycling can lead to excessive wear and to premature failure of the compressor or its components. Also, short cycling can result in a significantly decreased average efficiency (up to 10%), even if there are no physical failures in the equipment. Ensuring correct use of the zone set points and eliminating frequent cycling of RTUs thereby leading to persistent building operations can significantly increase the operational efficiency of the SMBs. A growing trend is to use low-cost control infrastructure that can enable scalable and cost-effective intelligent building operations. The work reported in this paper describes two algorithms for detecting the zone set point temperature and RTU cycling rate that can be deployed on the low-cost infrastructure. These algorithms only require the zone temperature data for detection. The algorithms have been tested and validated using field data from a number of RTUs from six buildings in different climate locations. Overall, the algorithms were successful in detecting the set points and ON/OFF cycles accurately using the peak detection technique. The paper describes the two algorithms, results from testing the algorithms using field data, how the algorithms can be used to improve SMBs efficiency, and presents related conclusions.« less
  • The goals of the conference were to exchange and document concepts and applications that could lead to a reduction of the energy used in air conditioning and heating. The conference related itself to the needs of industry and concerns of the Federal government while discussing engineering concepts and systems of heating and air conditioning. Papers that dealt with current practices leading to minimization of energy consumption were included. A brief summary of information in the sessions is given. (MCW)
  • While buildings smaller than 50,000 sq ft account for nearly half of the energy used in US commercial buildings, energy efficiency programs to-date have primarily focused on larger buildings. Interviews with stakeholders and a review of the literature indicate interest in energy efficiency from the small commercial building sector, provided solutions are simple and low-cost. An approach to deliver energy management to small commercial buildings via HVAC contractors and preliminary demonstration findings are presented. The energy management package (EMP) developed includes five technical elements: benchmarking and analysis of monthly energy use; analysis of interval electricity data (if available), a one-hourmore » onsite walkthrough, communication with the building owner, and checking of results. This data-driven approach tracks performance and identifies low-cost opportunities, using guidelines and worksheets for each element to streamline the delivery process and minimize the formal training required. This energy management approach is unique from, but often complementary to conventional quality maintenance or retrofit-focused programs targeting the small commercial segment. Because HVAC contractors already serve these clients, the transaction cost to market and deliver energy management services can be reduced to the order of hundreds of dollars per year. This business model, outlined briefly in this report, enables the offering to benefit the contractor and client even at the modest expected energy savings in small buildings. Results from a small-scale pilot of this approach validated that the EMP could be delivered by contractors in 4-8 hours per building per year, and that energy savings of 3-5percent are feasible through this approach.« less
  • A separate abstract was prepared for each paper presented at the conference for the data base. (RCK)