Evaluation of a feedback control method for hydronic heating systems based on indoor temperature measurements

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Indoor temperatures in apartment blocks are often indirectly controlled by the outdoor temperature using a feedforward control loop, in which the radiator supply temperature is a function of the outdoor temperature. However, this control principle cannot take into account heat gains or losses caused by tenants, electrical appliances, the sun, air leakage, etc., which may result in uneven indoor temperatures, overheating, airing and increased energy use. This can be partly addressed by using thermostatic valves on each radiator. A municipal housing company in Sweden that uses individual metering and billing (IBM) of space heating costs based on measurements of indoor temperatures in all rooms of each apartment has been studied. This article presents and evaluates a project in which these measurements were used for feedback control. The aim of the study was to evaluate the principle which is based on using the actual indoor temperatures. An existing feedforward control of the heating system with thermostatic valves was enhanced by a correction of the supply temperature. The magnitude of the correction was proportional to the difference between the actual mean indoor temperature of the apartments and the set-point temperature. The enhanced control resulted in more constant indoor temperatures, i.e. they were less dependent on the outdoor temperature. The results support the conclusion that the evaluated method would be promising to apply in multi-family buildings. The introduction of the enhanced control method provided valuable experience and awareness of influencing factors if it were to be implemented on a larger scale.

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Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Building Technologies
  • Energy Engineering

Keywords

  • Heating control, Feedback control loop, Indoor temperature measurements, Hydronic heating system, Apartments, Individual metering and billing, IMB
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-34
JournalEnergy and Buildings
Volume166
Early online date2018 Feb 5
Publication statusPublished - 2018 May 1
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes