ATLANTA, GA — At the ASHRAE Winter Meeting, one forum looked to answer the query, “What Are the Requirements and Benefits of a Dynamically Controlled Building?”

Issues considered under this topic included adjusting indoor temperatures on an hourly basis, energy benefits achievable, possible comfort complaints, the effect of start-ups, and taking advantage of real-time pricing.

A consultant from California said that, using demand limiting, you can save energy by shifting the setpoint in small increments. If you move slowly enough, people don’t notice the temperature change, he said.

Changing the temperature 1° or 2° should have a negligible effect on comfort, an engineer concurred.

An engineer said that in France, where temperature resets are widely used for residences, people are happy to pay less for accepting temperature adjustments.

However, in the U.S., a Mid-west attendee said, a lot of leasing people are writing in specific temperature ranges for their buildings. He also doesn’t see real-time pricing being an issue at the present.

“Cooling is the last thing to be cut back,” he said. “Lighting will go first.”

Open The Window

A university representative stated that at his Southern university, when a certain temperature range is reached, “there’s no heat and no cooling. Tenants need to open their windows.”

One response was that you can get away with that in an owner-occupied building.

At another university, an attendee said that employees are allowed to set the temperature on their thermostat. “But we can change it by central control if they have unreasonable demands.”

At his insurance company’s facilities, an official said, to reduce the load during summer’s peak demand periods, the firm takes simple measures such as closing the drapes and turning off the center lamps of the building’s lighting.

Overall, the perception is that a lot of people are skeptical about the potential savings that can be attained with dynamically controlled buildings.

Publication date: 03/26/2001