Volume 15: Technology Innovation to Accelerate Energy Transitions

Demand-Controlled Ventilation Energy Savings for Air Handling Unit Matthew Blubaugh, Ali Razban, Jie Chen


Heat, cooling, and ventilation units are major energy consumers for commercial buildings, consuming as much as 50% of a building’s total annual power usage. Management of an air handling system’s energy is a key factor of reducing the energy costs and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions that are associated with the demand when ventilating and conditioning the air in a building. One issue is that buildings are frequently over ventilated as a full assessment of the air handling unit (AHU) data is not evaluated by building operators. There are multiple variables that account for energy consumption of the AHU which need to be monitored by building operators. In order to assess the demand, it is required that the CO2 levels of the occupied zones be measured, and the outdoor air ventilation rate be adjusted based on real-time CO2. The concept of an energy management system and its characteristics are defined in respect to use with an AHU system. The prototype system used for the research is demonstrated and key data analyzed using real-time data collection. The goal of the research is to assess the number of CO2 sensors needed to accurately measure the demand-based needs for ventilation and provide review of the data required to monitor the AHU energy. Findings indicate that no more than one CO2 sensor would be required for a large lecture hall.

Keywords Air handling unit, ventilation, CO2, occupancy data, energy management, demand-controlled ventilation, energy management system.

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