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Application of Multizone HVAC Control Using Wireless Sensor Networks and Actuating Vent Registers
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Most residential heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are designed to treat the home as a single zone. Single zone control consists of one thermostat, in a central area of the house that controls the HVAC operation. In a single zone system all of the vent registers are open, distributing air into all areas of the house at once. Single zone control leads to wasted energy for two reasons - all rooms being conditioned when they are not occupied, and conditioning occupied rooms, without maintaining them at the comfortable temperature for the occupants. Improved control of residential cooling and heating can be attained with a variable HVAC fan, duct, and vent system. Existing single zone systems are expensive to retrofit with the above mentioned features. Current techniques require replacing major components in the HVAC system which are both costly and time consuming, invading the user's home. An alternative to the extensive retrofit is detailed in this work. The experiments in this paper implement an automated vent louver system to solve two problems in heating homes: the problem of temperature stratification between floors and zonification between rooms, and the energy wasted to heat in unoccupied areas of the home. This paper considers the application of replacing the standard vents in each room with wireless controlled louvered vents. These vents allow for simpler, more cost effective retrofits which are also less invasive tithe end user's home. The experiments in this paper implement an automated vent louver system to reduce the energy wasted to heat unoccupied areas of the home. This test house in these experiments was a two story home. Wireless sensor-actuator networks were used to automate the test of closing off vent registers while maintaining the appropriate temperature set point in a control zone. A control zone consists of the house area where the vents are fully open. Controlling the vent registers allowed for reduced zonification between rooms on the same floor, and reduced stratification between the upstairs and downstairs. Energy savings were shown when vents were closed to heat the control zones containing the bedroom, of the office.
Watts, W.; Koplow, M.; Redfern, A.; Wright, P. (2007). Application of Multizone HVAC Control Using Wireless Sensor Networks and Actuating Vent Registers. Energy Systems Laboratory (http://esl.tamu.edu); Texas A&M University (http://www.tamu.edu). Available electronically from