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Minimum airflow reset of single-duct VAV terminal boxes

Young-Hum Cho, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Single duct Variable Air Volume (VAV) systems are currently the most widely used type of HVAC system in the United States. When installing such a system, it is critical to determine the minimum airflow set point of the terminal box, as an optimally selected set point will improve the level of thermal comfort and indoor air quality (IAQ) while at the same time lower overall energy costs. In principle, this minimum rate should be calculated according to the minimum ventilation requirement based on ASHRAE standard 62.1 and maximum heating load of the zone. Several factors must be carefully considered when calculating this minimum rate. Terminal boxes with conventional control sequences may result in occupant discomfort and energy waste. If the minimum rate of airflow is set too high, the AHUs will consume excess fan power, and the terminal boxes may cause significant simultaneous room heating and cooling. At the same time, a rate that is too low will result in poor air circulation and indoor air quality in the air-conditioned space. ^ Currently, many scholars are investigating how to change the algorithm of the advanced VAV terminal box controller without retrofitting. Some of these controllers have been found to effectively improve thermal comfort, indoor air quality, and energy efficiency. However, minimum airflow set points have not yet been identified, nor has controller performance been verified in confirmed studies. ^ In this study, control algorithms were developed that automatically identify and reset terminal box minimum airflow set points, thereby improving indoor air quality and thermal comfort levels, and reducing the overall rate of energy consumption. A theoretical analysis of the optimal minimum airflow and discharge air temperature was performed to identify the potential energy benefits of resetting the terminal box minimum airflow set points. Applicable control algorithms for calculating the ideal values for the minimum airflow reset were developed and applied to actual systems for performance validation. The results of the theoretical analysis, numeric simulations, and experiments show that the optimal control algorithms can automatically identify the minimum rate of heating airflow under actual working conditions. Improved control helps to stabilize room air temperatures. The vertical difference in the room air temperature was lower than the comfort value. Measurements of room CO2 levels indicate that when the minimum airflow set point was reduced it did not adversely affect the indoor air quality. According to the measured energy results, optimal control algorithms give a lower rate of reheating energy consumption than conventional controls.^

Subject Area

Engineering, Mechanical|Energy

Recommended Citation

Cho, Young-Hum, "Minimum airflow reset of single-duct VAV terminal boxes" (2009). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3352374.