Energy modeling and calibration of a mixed-use building with laboratories, offices, and classrooms

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University of Alabama Libraries

In general, mixed-use building with laboratories, office, and classrooms consume a significant amount of energy and very energy intensive. These buildings provide great opportunities for energy efficiency improvement from mechanical and energy system, including Heating, Ventilation and Air-Conditioning (HVAC) plugs, and lighting subsystems. Building Energy Modeling (BEM) recently has received more and more attention as a tool to reduce building energy consumption. However, the interconnected complexity of system and equipment in buildings with laboratories makes modeling of these buildings a unique and challenging task. This study presents a development and calibration of a university mixed-use building using the EnergyPlus simulation program. The building under study is the South Engineering Research Center (SERC) building. This building was built in 2012 and has a total area of 175,000 ft2 with three floors. SERC mainly consists of research and teaching laboratories, classrooms, conference rooms and offices. Air Hander Units (AHU) equipped with Energy Recovery Units (ERU) supply 100 percent outside air to the laboratory spaces through terminal Variable Air Volume (VAV) Boxes. Chilled and hot water are delivered from the campus central energy plant. Building geometry was created using DesignBuilder. Meter and sensors data from Building Automation System (BAS) are being collected and used for calibration. The modeling process, preliminary calibration and verification results, as well as implementation issues encountered throughout the modeling and calibration processed from a user’s perspective, are presented and discussed.

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Mechanical engineering