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Smart controls and thermal comfort


Research using field work throughout the world has shown that in real conditions the indoor temperature for optimum thermal comfort (the `comfort temperature') is a function of the outdoor temperature. This is because people `adapt' to prevailing conditions. Comfort conditions can be achieved using less energy than if constant set point temperatures are used because the indoor environment follows that outdoors.
The objective of this proposal is to reduce energy consumption in air conditioned (AC) buildings and to encourage the use of natural ventilation (NV) through the development of control systems for indoor temperature which use this adaptive effect.
The aim of this proposal is to carry out wide-ranging thermal comfort surveys in different climatic regions of Europe to enable the development of algorithms for use in control systems for AC and NV buildings in order to reduce energy use.
The expected achievements of the project are to:
- develop automatic instrumentation for thermal comfort surveys - develop algorithms to define adaptive comfort temperature in differentclimatic regions of Europe based on wide-ranging comfort surveys - design and test control systems for building energy management systems(BEMS) based on the adaptive algorithms
- allow for the improvement of the systems through the use of neural networksto refine the algorithm to suit the needs of particular buildings - install adaptive control systems in buildings in diverse climatic areas ofEurope and confirm their energy use and comfort rating as compared to moretraditional controls.
An approximate algorithm has been tentatively tested for UK conditions using dynamic thermal simulations and has been shown to produce energy savings of up to 25% when it is used to define the set temperature in AC buildings. In the warmer conditions of southern Europe even greater savings might be expected.
The Industrial members of the team will benefit from the research expertise of the research members by cooperating in the development of control systems which represent the latest thinking in energy-saving consistent with occupant comfort. Instrumentation will be developed which will allow partners to exploit the increasing interest in multi-dimensional survey work, which will be further developed as an important part of this proposal.
The principal control technologies arising from this proposal will be tested and ready for immediate exploitation on completion of the project.
The project will put European control industries in a leading position in the world market, it derives its theory and methodology from work in the UK and elsewhere funded by the British Government and the British Council. The work further develops research undertaken as part of the Comfort Task of the Joule PASCOOL project and recognises the need expressed by that project for a dynamic-interactive approach to the specification of indoor temperatures.

Call for proposal

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Oxford Brookes University
Gipsy lane
OX3 0BP Oxford
United Kingdom

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EU contribution
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Participants (8)