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Use of smart buildings technology to optimize indoor climate control in local government buildings

Shivakumar, Shyam (2021) Use of smart buildings technology to optimize indoor climate control in local government buildings. Masters by Coursework thesis, Murdoch University.

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Activities done as part of everyday life are being aided by modern tools and systems that are ‘smart’, thanks to the rapid growth of science and technology. Climate change is one matter of concern for the world, and everyone needs to act to reverse it or limit its repercussions. A part of the solution to fight climate change would be to integrate these ‘smart’ technologies in the energy sector to curb GHG emissions associated with energy generation. The technology of Internet of Things (or IoT) is increasingly being used in many applications across many sectors. The IoT, an iconic concept of the modern era, is nowadays proving to be a capable driver to achieve energy efficiency, which is considered to be the first line of defense to climate change.

This dissertation aims to be a part of revamping the indoor climate control devices in commercial facilities of the City of Melville, a local government area of Western Australia. The study for achieving such an objective is done to set a foundation for the city council to work on optimizing the currently operating HVAC and other climate control setups. The dissertation encompasses a background of smart building technologies, with the overview of the City of Melville and its trial facility for undertaking the demonstration project for such systems, the Piney Lakes Environmental Education Centre (PLEEC). It is then followed by the results of a detailed literature review of papers that have demonstrated designs and features of IoT based smart climate control systems, analysis of the baseline behaviour of the PLEEC for identifying the opportunities for optimizing climate control with the help of monitoring the power consumption and the usage and behavioural patterns with the help of a monitoring dashboard and surveys and log books and then finally, the proposal of designs capable of handling the indoor climate of the various commercial facilities under the city’s operational control. Two types of designs have been put forth wherein one is meant to control HVAC systems in general and the other is solely meant for controlling reverse-cycle air conditioners. These designs were based on the reviewed papers. The concept of control which is apt for this purpose is called Model Predictive Control with the addition of Predictive Mean Vote for including thermal comfort into the optimization process. The experimental results of the system (based on those papers) have shown their capability to increase energy savings, without compromising on human thermal comfort.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters by Coursework)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Engineering and Energy
Supervisor(s): Lund, Christopher and Whale, Jonathan
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