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Title: Using Field-Metered Data to Quantify Annual Energy Use of Portable Air Conditioners

As many regions of the United States experience rising temperatures, consumers have come to rely increasingly on cooling appliances (including portable air conditioners) to provide a comfortable indoor temperature. Home occupants sometimes use a portable air conditioner (PAC) to maintain a desired indoor temperature in a single room or enclosed space. Although PACs in residential use are few compared to centrally installed and room air conditioning (AC) units, the past few years have witnessed an increase of PACs use throughout the United States. There is, however, little information and few research projects focused on the energy consumption and performance of PACs, particularly studies that collect information from field applications of PACs. The operation and energy consumption of PACs may differ among geographic locations and households, because of variations in cooling load, frequency, duration of use, and other user-selected settings. In addition, the performance of building envelope (thermal mass and air leakage) as well as inter-zonal mixing within the building would substantially influence the ability to control and maintain desirable indoor thermal conditions. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) conducted an initial field-metering study aimed at increasing the knowledge and data related to PAC operation and energy consumption in the United States.more » LBNL performed its field-metering study from mid-April to late October 2014. The study, which monitored 19 sites in the Northeastern United States (4 in upstate New York and 15 near Philadelphia), collected real-time data on PAC energy consumption along with information regarding housing characteristics, consumer behavior, and environmental conditions that were expected to affect PAC performance. Given the limited number of test sites, this study was not intended to be statistically representative of PAC users in the United States but rather to understand the system response to the cooling demand and to some extent, the operating hours of the studied units. Specifically, the primary objectives of the field-metering study were to (1) expand knowledge of the installation, energy consumption profiles, consumer patterns of use, and environmental parameters related to PAC use; (2) develop distributions of hours of PAC operation for three operating modes: standby, 1 fan-only, and cooling; and (3) describe how individual consumers’ selection of PAC capacity, the area of the space to be cooled, the temperature set point, and environmental conditions affect energy use. Beginning to understand the energy consumption of PACs operating in American homes and commercial settings will help develop a more accurate energy use profile that characterizes relevant variables. This report on LBNL’s field-metering study of PAC energy use describes: a general definition of a PAC and how it operates (section 2); current practices and sources of data for estimating PAC energy use (section 3); the process LBNL used to select field-metering sites, along with characteristics of the sites and the PACs studied (section 4); data collection methods and instrumentation (section 5); analysis methods (section 6); results and discussion (section 7); and conclusions (section 8).« less
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  1. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States). Energy Analysis and Environmental Impacts Dept., Environmental Energy Technologies Division
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Building Technologies Office (EE-5B)
Country of Publication:
United States