ENEM 14014 | Capstone Thermo Fluid Engineering | Capstone
Assessments of Energy Performance and Retrofitting of an Institutional Building for Improved Thermal Management
The development of strategies for efficient and effective energy management in buildings is essential not only for reducing the cost of energy but also to save the environment. Effective HVAC control strategies should be developed for improved thermal energy management. Energy savings of up to 30% or even more can be achieved by introducing proper energy conservation measures (ECM) in an existing building without compromising the indoor comfort. The speed and reliability of today’s computers and the availability of suitable energy simulation software with optimization techniques have given us the opportunity to take advantage of the thermal design of buildings and to make the decision for energy conservation purposes.
According to the Commercial Buildings Energy Code, about 65% of electrical energy is used for space conditioning in Australia. Rockhampton is a hot and humid area and Australian Bureau of Meteorology records show that in 2005 Rockhampton had the hottest temperature in this region in 37 years. This clearly indicates that the HVAC system of a building in this region has a huge potential for energy savings. Development of strategies for efficient energy management is thus very important.
In this project, the student teams should aim to study energy management strategies for existing heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems of a reference building in Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia. The details of the building will be provided on the Moodle page. There are many factors to be considered when
considering an HVAC system for a building or industry. Some of these factors are:
- The comfortable conditions (temperature, humidity, air velocity, air quality, etc.)
- The installation method, operating procedure and maintenance
- The cooling and/or heating loads in each zone of the buildings or industry
- The method of controlling the system to ensure comfortable conditions maintained throughout
- The identification of energy conservation opportunities through better design, modifications, retrofitting, etc.
The amount of energy use in institutional/office buildings depends on the building envelope, operational efficiency of the HVAC system, fresh air requirement, lighting system and their efficiency, internal plug loads, building operation and maintenance. The first category is the base load, which can be defined as the non-weather dependent energy use. The other category is energy use in the air conditioning plants and systems. This requires the determination of how much energy is used for heating and cooling, through energy use associated with fans and pumps. The aim of this project is to exercise your theoretical thermo-fluid knowledge and skills in a practical application in the area of building HVAC systems.
You are required to study, analyze and assess the existing air-conditioning system of the building to report whether the thermal performance of the building can be improved. Alternative HVAC systems along with other ECM measures can be proposed that can be incorporated into building energy management system (BMS) to reduce the building’s energy consumption. Relevant technical data and other information on the existing building will be available on Moodle. Note that any information that is not given is at the HVAC Engineers’ discretion.
Energy consumption profile and thermal comfort profile should be simulated using available Building Energy Performance Simulation Software, DesignBuilder. The software is available to download it
and you can download a trial version free of charge. The trial version of the software is functional for four weeks only. You / your team will receive the student license from the teaching team later in the term. The software is also accessible in the computer labs for the Engineering students.
This project will assist you to partially achieve the following learning outcomes:
- Analyse, explain and evaluate performance characteristics and determine the load on air conditioning and refrigeration plants
- Analyse, explain and evaluate mass, energy and heat transfer processes in industrial plant and components, and industrial processes
- Apply discipline theories and methods to the problems of designing, implementing, operating and maintaining mechanical systems in industrial contexts
- Communicate professionally and provide evidence of personal reflection on, and critical assessment of, team contributions and professional development, and development of technical competence in thermo-fluid engineering
- Reflect upon, formulate and solve problems and record and communicate professionally the approach used to resolve problems and the reasons for adopting such approaches to problems
Your project outcomes should be presented in two formats.
- A team project report and a soft copy of the simulation results (DesignBuilder .dsb file). Your submission should have at least the following items:
- Literature review on the latest HVAC systems and their application to different types of buildings and industries
- The working principle of existing and proposed HVAC systems in the reference study building.
- Thermal comfort conditions, according to local climatic condition
- Model development, system definition and classification of the whole building into different thermal zones for HVAC control purposes
- Simulation of energy consumption and indoor thermal environmental profile of the reference building with the existing HVAC system
- Evaluation of alternative HVAC systems along with other ECM in the simulation environment to order to reduce Energy Use Intensity (EUI), i.e. total annual kWh/m2
- CFD analysis of temperature distribution in the reference building
Your submitted documentation must include a bibliography of the resources you have reviewed and considered to prepare the report. It is anticipated that each team will prepare a comprehensive report with an executive summary, introduction, literature review, schematic / diagram where necessary, methodology, model development, detailed results with comparison and analysis, concluding remarks. The report should also explain the contribution of each team member made in the project in percentage as per the assessment criteria in the unit profile.
- An audio-visual (AV) team presentation (10 mins max) and ppt slides – highlighting the findings from the project a week prior to the final submission. Teams are required to submit a recorded presentation with contribution from all team members.
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