Operator decisions regarding daily and seasonal scheduling of systems’ availability and setpoints play an important role in building performance. This paper reviews the key operational parameters of 14 office buildings in Ottawa, Canada. The results revealed that over 60% of the air handling units (AHUs) were not turned off outside of normal occupied hours, and most of them did not have an economizer cycle. The indoor temperature setpoints were between 20 and 24 °C. Based on these insights, a building performance simulation (BPS)-based sensitivity analysis was conducted to better understand the energy and comfort performance implications of common operator decisions. Eight operational parameters were studied: AHU start and stop times, seasonal switchover to heating and cooling times, heating and cooling season temperature setpoints, and ventilation rate and mode (i.e., constant or occupancy-based). The results revealed that the AHU start and stop times and the ventilation rate are the most critical operational parameters examined in terms of affecting the energy and comfort performance of the buildings investigated. Subsequently, a mixed-integer genetic algorithm was applied to identify the optimal operational parameters among the set of eight operational parameters investigated for four different heating dominated climate zones, nine different occupancy and three different envelope scenarios. The relationships between the variables of these scenarios and the optimal operational parameters were examined.

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Energy and Buildings
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Gunay, H.B, Ouf, M. (Mohamed), Newsham, G. (Guy), & O'Brien, W. (2019). Sensitivity analysis and optimization of building operations. Energy and Buildings, 199, 164–175. doi:10.1016/j.enbuild.2019.06.048