Optimization for Savings in District Thermal Energy Systems
Advanced district thermal energy systems operating at near-ambient water temperatures have the potential to reduce source energy use intensity for heating and cooling 21-25% relative to code-compliant, building level systems. However, these systems face barriers to adoption, including the very large number of potential network configurations. To address this barrier, a network topology optimization framework for district thermal energy systems has been developed. The framework has been applied to a prototypical urban district for illustrative purposes, and identified solutions with life cycle cost values 14% to 72% lower than that of base case scenarios based on conventional design approaches, depending on the base case scenario selected.
Amy Allen is an engineer at the National Renewable Energy Lab, where her work has focused on modeling and software development related to district energy systems. She holds a Ph.D. in architectural engineering from the University of Colorado Boulder. Prior to joining NREL, Amy worked as an engineer at kW Engineering in Oakland, CA.
AIA Learning Objectives
- Attendee will learn to distinguish generations of district thermal energy systems
- Attendee will learn how advanced district thermal energy systems lead to HVAC energy savings relative to code-compliant, building-level systems
- Attendee will learn which district characteristics enhance the energy savings potential of district thermal energy systems
- Attendee will learn the reason behind network topology optimization offering greater potential than earlier generations.