Heating and cooling of buildings represents an important part of global energy consumption. Among other heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) devices, heat pump systems can reduce significantly the energy requirements and their impact, in comparison to classic solutions such as heating with fossil fuels. Every year, the heat pump and HVAC markets are increasing, especially in the domestic sector. Despite the high efficiency of such equipments, there is evidence that they are not always correctly maintained or operated, resulting in increased energy losses and decreased operational efficiency. With advanced control strategies that use external inputs such as weather forecasting, occupancy or energy prices, the system could be optimized, decreasing the cost and increasing the seasonal coefficient of performance. IREC has developed the Algorithms for Monitoring and Management of HVAC systems (ALMMA) to tackle those issues.
ALMMA has two main cores: the fault detection and diagnosis module (FDD) and the model predictive control module (MPC). The FDD monitors the efficiency of the system, alerting of deviations from normal operation, avoiding system inefficiencies and giving information about the origin of the fault. Such alerts enable for a more efficient maintenance. The MPC uses dynamic models of the system and weather, occupancy or prices forecasts, to optimize the operation of the equipment, decreasing the operational costs and increasing the energy savings.
The implantation of ALMMA helps to optimize the operation and reduce the energy consumption coming from unnoticed faults on the equipment. This reduction in energy consumption, reduces the primary energy consumed for heating and cooling, therefore, decreasing the environmental impact; and reduce the operational costs. The repair and maintenance expenses could be reduced with the preventive maintenance that ALMMA offers, being also valuable to facilities managers to monitor and optimize their systems.
ALMMA has been tested under dynamic laboratory conditions. The next steps developed in the framework of this project will be the test on a real demo site and the inclusion of the solution to dedicated hardware ready for entering the market.
Amb el suport del Departament de Recerca i Universitats de la Generalitat de Catalunya.