Energy Consumption Analyses of Frequently-used HVAC System Types in High Performance Office Buildings

Open Access
Yan, Liusheng
Graduate Program:
Architectural Engineering
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
January 15, 2014
Committee Members:
  • Jenela Srebric, Thesis Advisor
  • High performance office buildings
  • LEED
  • Energy consumption characteristics
  • Energy saving characteristics
  • Proposed HVAC system
The high energy consumption of heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems in commercial buildings is a hot topic. Office buildings, a typical building set of commercial buildings, have also drawn enormous attention from researchers, facility managers, designers and building owners due to high HVAC energy consumptions. Office buildings have a set of frequently-used HVAC systems. These HVAC systems might have different energy consumption patterns. High performance office buildings narrow the scope of testing this hypothesis. Thus, the main objective of this thesis is to identify the frequently-used HVAC system types for high performance office buildings and enable them in the energy consumption analyses. As a good representative of high performance buildings, a group of 134 LEED NC (Leadership in Energy Efficient Design for New Construction & Major Renovations) certified office buildings provide important resources to explore the frequently-used HVAC system types in high performance office buildings. Frequently-used proposed HVAC systems are defined by their frequencies in this valuable building sample. The energy consumption analyses will go through each frequently-used proposed HVAC system type. The energy consumption analyses explore (1) the energy consumption characteristics focusing on proposed design cases and (2) energy saving characteristics from baseline to proposed cases. Also from these 134 LEED certified office buildings, three clusters of low, medium, and high energy use intensity have been identified as integrating both the building size characteristics and total energy consumption patterns. Clusters classification provides a further approach to compare the energy consumption patterns. An actual large size office building in Philadelphia is selected as the case study to demonstrate an energy consumption pattern. The well calibrated building model offers an ideal opportunity to test the energy consumption difference if it is changed to another HVAC system type. Further simulations of lighting load reduction and envelop system upgrade are also possible. These energy consumption patterns in high performance buildings pointed out not only the key areas that affect the energy consumption characteristics but also the directions that lead to potential energy savings for retrofit in low performance office buildings.