Auto-DR and Pre-cooling of Buildings at Tri-City Corporate Center

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Over the several past years, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) has conducted field tests for different pre-cooling strategies in different commercial buildings within California. The test results indicated that pre-cooling strategies were effective in reducing electric demand in these buildings during peak periods. This project studied how to optimize pre-cooling strategies for eleven buildings in the Tri-City Corporate Center, San Bernardino, California with the assistance of a building energy simulation tool – the Demand Response Quick Assessment Tool (DRQAT) developed by LBNL’s Demand Response Research Center funded by the California Energy Commission’s Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) Program. From the simulation results of these eleven buildings, optimal pre-cooling and temperature reset strategies were developed. The study shows that after refining and calibrating initial models with measured data, the accuracy of the models can be greatly improved and the models can be used to predict load reductions for automated demand response (Auto-DR) events. This study summarizes the optimization experience of the procedure to develop and calibrate building models in DRQAT. In order to confirm the actual effect of demand response strategies, the simulation results were compared to the field test data. The results indicated that the optimal demand response strategies worked well for all buildings in the Tri-City Corporate Center.

This study also compares DRQAT with other building energy simulation tools (eQUEST and BEST). The comparison indicate that eQUEST and BEST underestimate the actual demand shed of the pre-cooling strategies due to a flaw in DOE2’s simulation engine for treating wall thermal mass. DRQAT is a more accurate tool in predicting thermal mass effects of DR events.

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