Investigation of PECS on the basis of a virtual building controller
Keywords:decentralized heating and cooling systems, PECS, office chair with heating and cooling function, virtual building controller, thermal comfort
Thermal comfort is one of the key parameters for occupant satisfaction and, accordingly, for the energy performance of buildings. In recent years, decentralized heating and cooling systems, so called personal environmental comfort systems (PECS) are gaining more interest for research and the market. PECS include, for example, office chairs with heating and cooling functions, thermoelectric heating and cooling walls, or even desk fans. Studies have shown that these systems can reduce the heating and cooling demand of the central HVAC systems by improving comfort.
This paper presents a newly developed adaptive building controller that uses a holistic approach in the consideration of central HVAC systems and a heated and cooled office chair, within the framework of the building simulation software Esp-r. The presented building controller can adapt the setpoint temperatures of the central heating and cooling system and also regulate the usage of the office chair’s climate function based on the thermal sensation and comfort values of a virtual thermal manikin with the help of PhySCo a transient “Physiology, Sensation and Comfort Model”. This approach can be used for an analysis of the potential of PECS. In this context, the virtual adaptive building controller with a wide deadband and adaptive setpoints between 18 to 26 °C is compared to a basic controller with a fixed and narrow setpoint range between 21 to 24 °C. The simulations were performed for temperate climate (Mannheim, Germany) that is classified as Cfb climate according to the Köppen-Geiger classification. The results showed that the newly developed adaptive controller with the PECS kept the comfort values at the same level as the basic controller. An office chair with heating/cooling function had been added to the controller and helped to keep comfort while reducing the heating demand (13 % in winter, 4 % in spring) and the cooling demand (10.3 % in spring, 2.6 % in summer).
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