Revisiting summer set point strategies for conventional air conditioned office buildings
Authors: Roussac, A. Craig ; Steinfeld, Jesse ; de Dear, Richard
This paper presents observations and preliminary findings from action research that addresses the opportunity to save energy and provide greater thermal comfort by adjusting air temperature setpoints in office buildings to better reflect external weather conditions and occupants‟ clothing insulation choices during summer.
The study, which commenced in 2009, focuses on large centrally air-conditioned commercial office towers located in Australian capital cities. We refined our approaches for the period 1 November 2010 – 31 March 2011 to test the findings of the previous year‟s interventions presented at ANZAScA 2010.
A reduction in Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) electricity usage of 8% against a 2008/09 baseline was recorded, and occupant complaints as a proportion of all complaints recorded with a tenant helpdesk declined by 16% over the same period. Furthermore, HVAC energy use during the 2010/11 summer became more dependent on ambient air temperatures than it had been during the previous two summers. These encouraging observations require further investigation in light of the challenges associated with action research in occupied commercial buildings. The paper should therefore be read as an update on the results of important on-going research in a field with considerable significance for office-based workers and the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions.