Peak Demand Reduction from Pre-Cooling with Zone Temperature Reset in an Office Building
The objective of this study was to demonstrate the potential for reducing peak-period electrical demand in moderate-weight commercial buildings by modifying the control of the HVAC system. An 80,000 ft2 office building with a medium-weight building structure and high window-to-wall ratio was used for a case study in which zone temperature set-points were adjusted prior to and during occupancy. HVAC performance data and zone temperatures were recorded using the building control system. Additional operative temperature sensors for selected zones and power meters for the chillers and the AHU fans were installed for the study. An energy performance baseline was constructed from data collected during normal operation. Two strategies for demand shifting using the building thermal mass were then programmed in the control system and implemented progressively over a period of one month. It was found that a simple demand limiting strategy performed well in this building. This strategy involved maintaining zone temperatures at the lower end of the comfort region during the occupied period up until 2 pm. Starting at 2 pm, the zone temperatures were allowed to float to the high end of the comfort region. With this strategy, the chiller power was reduced by 80-100% (1 - 2.3 W/ft2) during normal peak hours from 2 - 5 pm, without causing any thermal comfort complaints. The effects on the demand from 2 - 5 pm of the inclusion of pre-cooling prior to occupancy are unclear.