Achieving Energy Efficiency in Existing Buildings
- Lead Faculty: Michael Gevelber, Don Wroblewski
This research effort is directed at developing the foundation for a new class of software tools to improve the energy efficiency of building HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems and also reduce domestic greenhouse gas emissions. While many large and moderate sized buildings have modern building control systems, research has revealed that many buildings are run inefficiently and that HVAC accounts for 50 to 70% of the buildings energy use. Existing commercial buildings currently account for 24% of US carbon emissions and is an important niche to address since buildings have long lifetimes. The proposed technology, however, is applicable to new buildings as well as for the global building infrastructure.
We are developing a new approach to optimizing the operating conditions and control of building heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems that will significantly reduce HVAC energy use as well as providing the basis to diagnose building HVAC problems. In particular, the objective is to develop a physically-based system modeling approach that determines critical building loads and airflows experimentally without relying on design plans. This empirically-based model enables implementation of optimized control that minimizes conditioned airflow while meeting the required ventilation, thermal, and humidification performance objectives.
Our collaboration partners which include experts from leading building automation and energy service companies, will help ensure that the technology we develop is practicable in industry, and that the critical requirements for it to be used in existing buildings are considered. Applicability will also be ensured since the research will be based on university buildings utilizing commercial building automation software.