Economic MPC, VRF
Variable refrigerant (VRF) systems are in a unique position to be combined with economic model predictive control (MPC) in order to reap significant benefits. In buildings with a variable utility price, it is feasible to use the building mass to shift a portion of the building heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) load from the high priced (peak) period to the low priced (off-peak) period. It is also feasible for further savings to be visualized through a reduction of the monthly demand charge. By employing the building mass as an element to store thermal energy, one can see a significant reduction in utility costs. The MPC algorithm can accomplish this by using the building mass to store and release heat at the appropriate time to reduce HVAC usage during the peak utility price periods. This is accomplished through MPC of the indoor air temperature within the acceptable temperature set point limits. With proper, linear models, a linear programming (LP) algorithm can be employed to perform the economic optimization over the future time horizon. Savings in commercial buildings estimate HVAC cost savings from --% to --% annually.