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Overview of HVAC Systems

Topic: HVAC

Truong Nghiem
ESE, University of Pennsylvania

January 24, 2011


I Part I: HVAC Basics (Bin Yan)

I Part II: Conventional Control of HVAC Systems (Truong Nghiem)

T. Nghiem HVAC Overview 2

Part I

HVAC Basics

T. Nghiem HVAC Overview 3

Part II

Conventional Control of HVAC Systems

Local Control Strategies
Supervisory Control

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HVAC Local & Supervisory Control

VAV System:
Exhaust Air Return Air

Circulated Air
VAV Box Air
Cooling Coil Supply Air Reheat Coil
Filter Internal heat gain
Fresh Air

Tower Chiller ZONE

To Other Zones

I Local control loops: thermostats, supply air controllers, etc.

I Supervisory control: set-points and modes for local control loops.

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Local Control Loops

Zone temperature control loop (thermostat)

supply air heat gain
set-point reheat
Thermostat VAV Zone

zone temperature

Supply Air Temperature (SAT) control loop

Air flow CHW
SAT set-point
Controller Valve HVAC Coil


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Local Control: On/Off Control

Simplest and common control is on/off control.

I Upper threshold tu , lower threshold tl , differential = tu tl .
I Switch off when t tu and on when t tl .
I Time lag may cause larger operating differential.
I Suitable for thermostats (slow dynamics) but not for supply-air fan
System; Sensor;





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Local Control: P/PI/PID Control
Z t
u(t) = KP e(t) + KI e(t)dt + KD y (t), e(t) = SP y (t)
0 dt

I y (t): process value, u(t): control, SP: set-point, e(t): error.

I Popular linear feedback controllers.
I Often requires a driver to convert u(t) to actual action of the
actuator (e.g., to drive a valve motor).
I Derivative part is sensitive to noise.
I Prevent derivative kick when SP changes: use y (t) for D.
I Prevent Integral wind-up: limit integral part, temporarily disable
integral part when e(t) is large, change SP gradually, etc.
I Mechanical wear leads to control degradation: reduce frequency of
control action u(t) using deadband.

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Local Control: P/PI/PID Control

Direct Digital Control (DDC): controllers are implemented in computers.

Digital to analog drivers are required.
Tuning PID controllers
I Tune KP , KI , KD for stability and performance (overshoot, rise time,
steady-state error, etc.).
I Manual tuning: trial-and-error experiments, requires expecience.
I Ziegler-Nichols method.
I Automated tuning with software:
I System identification to obtain plant/sensor/actuator model.
I Calculate PID parameters.
I Simulation.

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Local Control: More References

I Control books and textbooks.

I HVAC design & control books.
I G. J. Levermore, Building Energy Management Systems:
Applications to low-energy HVAC and natural ventilation control.
E & FN Spon, 2 ed., 2000.
I B. Li and A. G. Alleyne, Optimal on-off control of an air
conditioning and refrigeration system, in Proceedings of the 2010
American Control Conference, pp. 58925897, 2010.

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Supervisory Control

Building Management System (BMS) is a system that monitors,

controls and optimizes most aspects of a building, including HVAC,
lighting system, security system, etc.

Supervisory control is a part of BMS: computes set-points for local

control loops, sets modes, turns on/off devices, etc.
I Can be manual by human operators, automatic by computers, or
I Strategies: operation schedules, logical rules, optimization &
adaptation, intelligent control (e.g., neural networks, machine
I Purposes:
I Safety.
I Comfort.
I Efficiency: reduces energy usage or energy cost, etc.

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How Is Electric Bill Calculated?

I Billing period: often 1 month.

I Energy usage: amount of energy used during billing period (kWh).
I Energy demand: power demanded by the consumer (kW), averaged
for every time interval of half an hour (or 15 minutes, or an hour).
I Peak periods: the hours during which energy demand by consumers
is significantly higher than average, e.g., noon to 6 PM on weekdays.
I Peak demand: the maximum power demand by consumer during
peak periods.
I Bill = Basic charge + Usage charge + Demand charge.
I Usage charge = Total energy usage Usage price.
I Demand charge = Peak demand Demand price.
I Demand charge is significant (40% of bill).
I Why demand charge? Because peak demand is expensive and
difficult for utility companies.

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Demand Control

I Demand control (demand limiting): to control peak demand and

reduce demand cost.
I Strategies:
I Load shedding: turn off devices or reduce their powers (e.g., turn off
or dim lights).
I Load shifting: move part of load from peak periods to off-peak
I Pre-heat or pre-cool a building before peak periods.
I Store energy at night (low-price time) to use in daytime.
I More sophisticated strategies, e.g., look-ahead control with
prediction model (next lecture).

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Demand Control: Temperature Set-point Schedule

Consider a cooling system.

I Idea: pre-cool the building/zones before peak period by setting a low
set-point, then raise the set-point during peak period (load shifting).
I Change temperature set-points according to a fixed schedule
(pre-computed for each month or season).
I Different schedules:
I Jump/Step-up: reset set-point from low to high at the beginning of
peak period.
I Linear: linearly increase set-point from low to high during peak
I Analytical: use an analytical building model to optimize (off-line) the
set-point schedule. Can be approximated as exponential schedule.

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ing afternoon periods that are characteristic
Demand Control: Temperature Set-point
Fig. 2.Schedule
here the demand-limiting will be applied. Schematic illustration of SA metho



(25.6C) 74F
70F (21.1C)

Precooling On-peak

Occupied period Time

(From [ho controls.

Fig. 1. Example demand-limiting building setpoint temperature Lee & Braun, 2008])

[ho Lee & Braun, 2004, ho Lee & Braun, 2006, ho Lee & Braun, 2008]

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Demand Control: Temperature Set-point Schedule

Simulation with Simulink and MLE+ (cosimulation with EnergyPlus).

x 10
31 2

30 1.8




23 0.2

22 0
6 8 10 12 14 16 18 6 8 10 12 14 16 18

Set-point schedule ( C) HVAC power (W)

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ho Lee, Kyoung, & Braun, James E. 2004.

Development and application of an inverse building model for demand response in small
commercial buildings.
In: Proceedings of SimBuild.
ho Lee, Kyoung, & Braun, James E. 2006.
Evaluation of Methods for Determining Demand-Limiting Setpoint Trajectories in
Commercial Buildings Using Short-Term Data Analysis.
Pages 107114 of: Proceedings of SimBuild.
ho Lee, Kyoung, & Braun, James E. 2008.
Development of methods for determining demand-limiting setpoint trajectories in buildings
using short-term measurements.
Building and Environment, 43(10), 1755 1768.

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Thank You!