American researchers, having conducted a year-long trial of the controls at malls, grocery stores and other buildings, have demonstrated that commercial buildings could substantially cut their heating and cooling electricity use by an average of 57 percent.
The team looked at packaged factory-built rooftop units, as most buildings don’t use sophisticated controls and these are among the biggest energy consumers in buildings.
The idea was to automatically adjust HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) operations based on conditions inside and outside of the building, and, using sensors and variable-speed motors, adjust ventilation fans, and use outside cold air instead of mechanically cooled air.
Starting in 2012, they installed a commercially available control kit on 66 rooftop HVAC units at eight volunteer commercial buildings in different regions, including shopping malls, grocery stores, big-box stores and a medical clinic.
The results of these trials have shown that it is possible to cut the energy use of commercial buildings by 20 to 90 percent, with an average of 57 percent, using advanced energy-efficiency controls of packaged rooftop heating, ventilation and air-conditioning units.
Source: Pacific Northwest – US Department of Energy