Packaged cooling equipment, including packaged air-conditioning units and heat pumps, is used in 46% of all commercial buildings, serving over 60% of the commercial building floor space in the U.S. The annual electricity consumption associated with packaged equipment for cooling and ventilation is about 571 trillion Btus for site energy or 1,770 trillion Btus for source energy. Therefore, even a small increase in the part-load efficiency of these units can lead to significant reductions in energy use and cost. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Building Technologies Program (BTP), evaluated a number of control strategies that can be implemented in an advanced controller, which can be retrofit into existing packaged heat pump units to improve their operational efficiency.
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The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) owns and leases over 354 million square feet (ft2) of space in over 9,600 buildings. GSA is a leader among federal agencies in aggressively pursuing energy efficiency (EE) opportunities for its facilities and installing renewable energy (RE) systems to provide heating, cooling, and power to these facilities. According to several energy assessments of GSA's buildings conducted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), plug-loads account for approximately 21% of the total electricity consumed within a standard GSA Region 3 office building. This study aims to provide insight on how to effectively manage plug-load energy consumption and attain higher energy and cost savings for plug-loads. As GSA improves the efficiency of its building stock, plug-loads will become an even greater portion of its energy footprint.