Application of Building Precooling to Reduce Peak Cooling Requirements
A building cooling control strategy was developed and tested for a 1.4 million square foot (130,000 square meter) office building located in Hoffman Estates, IL. The goal of the control strategy was to utilize building thermal mass to limit the peak cooling load for continued building operation in the event of the loss of one of the four central chiller units. The algorithm was first developed and evaluated through simulation and then evaluated through tests on two identical buildings. The east building utilized the existing building control strategy while the west building used the precooling strategy developed for this project. Consistent with simulation predictions, the precooling control strategy successfully limited the peak load to 75% of the cooling capacity for the west building, while the east building operated at 100% of capacity. Precooling of the building mass provided an economical alternative to the purchase of an additional chiller unit. The estimated cost of installing an additional chiller was approximately $500,000. Computer models developed for this project also showed that precooling based upon cooling cost minimization could result in savings of approximately $25,000 per month during the peak cooling season. The building model was validated with experimental results and could be used in the development of a cost minimization strategy.