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Title: Comparative study of the cooling energy performance of variable refrigerant flow systems and variable air volume systems in office buildings

Abstract

Variable air volume (VAV) and variable refrigerant flow (VRF) systems are widely used in office buildings. This study investigated VAV and VRF systems in five typical office buildings in China, and compared their cooling energy use. Site survey and field measurements were conducted to collect the data of building characteristics and operation. Measured cooling electricity use was collected from sub-metering in the five buildings. The sub-metering data normalized by climate and operating hours indicated that the cooling energy consumed by VRF systems was up to 70% lower than that consumed by VAV systems. This was mainly because of the different operation modes of both system types that led to significantly fewer operating hours for the VRF systems. Building simulations were used to quantify the impact of operation modes of VRF and VAV systems on cooling loads. A prototype office building in China was used as the model. The simulation results showed that the VRF operation mode required much lower cooling load when compared to the VAV operation mode. For example, the cooling loads decreased by 42% in Hong Kong and 53% in Qingdao. Key findings include the following: the VRF systems operated in the part-time-part-space mode enabling occupants to turnmore » on the air-conditioning only when needed and when the spaces were occupied. However, the VAV systems operated in the full-time-full-space mode limiting occupants’ control of operation. These findings provide insights into VRF systems operation and controls as well as their energy performance, which could help guide HVAC designers on system selection and building operators or facility managers on system operations to achieve low- or zero-net energy buildings.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [2];  [2];  [3]
  1. Tsinghua Univ., Beijing (China)
  2. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
  3. Beijing Inst. of Architectural Design, Beijing (China)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)
OSTI Identifier:
1532210
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1396996
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC02-05CH11231
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Applied Energy
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 183; Journal Issue: C; Journal ID: ISSN 0306-2619
Publisher:
Elsevier
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
29 ENERGY PLANNING, POLICY, AND ECONOMY

Citation Formats

Yu, Xinqiao, Yan, Da, Sun, Kaiyu, Hong, Tianzhen, and Zhu, Dandan. Comparative study of the cooling energy performance of variable refrigerant flow systems and variable air volume systems in office buildings. United States: N. p., 2016. Web. doi:10.1016/j.apenergy.2016.09.033.
Yu, Xinqiao, Yan, Da, Sun, Kaiyu, Hong, Tianzhen, & Zhu, Dandan. Comparative study of the cooling energy performance of variable refrigerant flow systems and variable air volume systems in office buildings. United States. doi:10.1016/j.apenergy.2016.09.033.
Yu, Xinqiao, Yan, Da, Sun, Kaiyu, Hong, Tianzhen, and Zhu, Dandan. Fri . "Comparative study of the cooling energy performance of variable refrigerant flow systems and variable air volume systems in office buildings". United States. doi:10.1016/j.apenergy.2016.09.033. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1532210.
@article{osti_1532210,
title = {Comparative study of the cooling energy performance of variable refrigerant flow systems and variable air volume systems in office buildings},
author = {Yu, Xinqiao and Yan, Da and Sun, Kaiyu and Hong, Tianzhen and Zhu, Dandan},
abstractNote = {Variable air volume (VAV) and variable refrigerant flow (VRF) systems are widely used in office buildings. This study investigated VAV and VRF systems in five typical office buildings in China, and compared their cooling energy use. Site survey and field measurements were conducted to collect the data of building characteristics and operation. Measured cooling electricity use was collected from sub-metering in the five buildings. The sub-metering data normalized by climate and operating hours indicated that the cooling energy consumed by VRF systems was up to 70% lower than that consumed by VAV systems. This was mainly because of the different operation modes of both system types that led to significantly fewer operating hours for the VRF systems. Building simulations were used to quantify the impact of operation modes of VRF and VAV systems on cooling loads. A prototype office building in China was used as the model. The simulation results showed that the VRF operation mode required much lower cooling load when compared to the VAV operation mode. For example, the cooling loads decreased by 42% in Hong Kong and 53% in Qingdao. Key findings include the following: the VRF systems operated in the part-time-part-space mode enabling occupants to turn on the air-conditioning only when needed and when the spaces were occupied. However, the VAV systems operated in the full-time-full-space mode limiting occupants’ control of operation. These findings provide insights into VRF systems operation and controls as well as their energy performance, which could help guide HVAC designers on system selection and building operators or facility managers on system operations to achieve low- or zero-net energy buildings.},
doi = {10.1016/j.apenergy.2016.09.033},
journal = {Applied Energy},
number = C,
volume = 183,
place = {United States},
year = {2016},
month = {9}
}

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Cited by: 27 works
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Figures / Tables:

Fig 1 Fig 1: Annual HVAC energy consumption of the 11 investigated buildings Notes: QD: Qingdao, BJ: Beijing, HZ: Hangzhou, SH: Shanghai, HK: Hong Kong.

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