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Title: Field evaluation of advanced controls for the retrofit of packaged air conditioners and heat pumps

This paper documents the magnitude of energy savings achievable in the field by retrofitting existing packaged rooftop units (RTUs) with advanced control strategies not ordinarily used for RTUs. A total of 66 RTUs on 8 different buildings were retrofitted with a commercially available advanced controller for improving RTU operational efficiency. The controller features enhanced air-side economizer control, multi-speed fan control, and demand controlled ventilation. Of the 66 RTUs, 18 are packaged heat pumps and the rest are packaged air conditioners with gas heat. The eight buildings cover four building types and four climate conditions. Based on the data collected for about a whole year, the advanced controller reduced the normalized annual RTU energy consumption between 22% and 90%, with an average of 57% for all RTUs. The average fractional savings uncertainty was 12% at 95% confidence level. Normalized annual electricity savings were in the range between 0.47 kWh/h (kWh per hour of RTU operation) and 7.21 kWh/h, with an average of 2.39 kWh/h. RTUs greater than 53 kW and runtime greater than 14 hours per day had payback periods less than 3 years even at $0.05/kWh.
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Journal Article
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Journal Name: Applied Energy, 154:344-351
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
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Country of Publication:
United States