ASHRAE funds research to determine cooling, heating energy use

March 05, 2003 |

The use of simplified system models to reduce energy use in buildings has become common. But no general procedure exists that can be easily implemented by energy professionals. A step-by-step procedure to determine the annual cooling and heating energy use of buildings with multiple HVAC systems will be developed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).

ASHRAE recently approved funding totaling $575,383 for seven research projects in the areas of design tool, operation and maintenance tools, indoor air quality, comfort and health, refrigeration, environmentally safe materials and energy conservation.

Recent studies have shown that HVAC system models, originally developed for design purposes, are equally useful for detecting and assessing the impact of operation and maintenance measures and for identifying energy retrofit savings when monitored data are available.

"However, the effectiveness of these models as fault detectors and savings meters is based on the ability to calibrate them satisfactorily against monitored data," says Mingsheng Liu, Ph.D., of Energy Systems Laboratory at University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and principal investigator of 1092-TRP, one of the ASHRAE research projects.

The research will focus on documenting known algorithms to calibrate data from existing buildings. This project will benefit professionals involved in building commissioning and energy conservation by:

* Widening the acceptance and applicability of calibrated simplified systems simulations in the analysis of actual performance of HVAC building mechanical systems;

* Providing material for HVAC building energy analysis book publishers as an aid for developing more effective texts and training programs;

* Serving as a resource for the future development of HVAC system fault detection procedures;

* Imparting better understanding of why and how calibrated building energy software programs can be used to improve HVAC performance and indoor air quality;

* Providing the necessary step-by-step instructions for building energy professionals to perform the calibration to energy use data of buildings whose performance they are charged to track;

* Providing a well-documented procedure to develop lumped and simplified models using short-term data should help energy professionals verify savings without having to install long-term metering.

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