Energy and Buildings vol:41 issue:10 pages:1091-1098
The large thermal time constant of thermally activated building systems (TABS) hampers communication between the system's production and emission. Therefore, conventional building control strategies, typically using room temperature feedback, are unadapted to control thermal comfort efficiently. In this paper, measurement data and simulation results reveal that unadapted TABS control has a dramatic impact on overall energy performance. Measurements in a TABS building with room temperature feedback show the HVAC system switching between heating and cooling in a very short time frame. A simplified, generic room model is used to simulate, understand and evaluate this behaviour. For room temperature feedback control, only 45% of the cold and 15% of the heat produced actually controls room temperature. The remainder is stored in the TABS and exchanged between the heating and cooling system. Enlarging the heating-to-cooling set point band improves this ratio, while maintaining thermal comfort. On the other hand, night time operation control of the circulation pump, adapted to the TABS thermal time constant, eliminates this ‘unused’ energy completely. In this case, however, even with perfect heat gain forecasts, it is difficult to avoid room temperatures dropping below thermal comfort limits during initial office hours. Hence, a supplementary air-conditioning system seems inevitable.