Load Control using Building Thermal Mass
This paper provides an overview of research related to use of building thermal mass for shifting and reducing peak cooling loads in commercial buildings. The paper presents background on the concept and the problem of optimizing zone temperature setpoints and provides specific results that have been obtained through simulations, controlled laboratory testing, and field studies. The studies have demonstrated significant savings potential for use of building thermal mass in commercial buildings. However, the savings are sensitive to many factors, including utility rates, type of equipment, occupancy schedule, building construction, climate conditions, and control strategy. The paper also attempts to provide an assessment of the state of the art in load control using building thermal mass and to identify the steps necessary to achieve widespread application of appropriate control strategies.