The UK domestic sector accounts for more than a quarter of total energy use. This energy use can be reduced through more efficient building operations. The energy efficiency can be improved through better control of heating in houses, which account for a large portion of total energy consumption. The energy consumption can be lowered by using renewable energy systems, which will also help the UK government to meet its targets towards reduction in carbon emissions and generation of clean energy. Building control has gained considerable interest from researchers and much improved ways of control strategies for heating and hot water systems have been investigated. This intensified research is because heating systems represent a significant share of our primary energy consumption to meet thermal comfort and indoor air quality criteria. Advances in computing control and research in advanced control theory have made it possible to implement advanced controllers in building control applications.
Heating control system is a difficult problem because of the non-linearities in the system and the wide range of operating conditions under which the system must function. A model of a two zone building was developed in this research to assess the performance of different control strategies. Two conventional (On-Off and proportional integral controllers) and one advanced control strategies (model predictive controller) were applied to a solar heating system combined with a heat pump. The building was modelled by using a lumped approach and different methods were deployed to obtain a suitable model for an air source heat pump. The control objectives were to reduce electricity costs by optimizing the operation of the heat pump, integrating the available solar energy, shifting electricity consumption to the cheaper night-time tariff and providing better thermal comfort to the occupants. Different climatic conditions were simulated to test the mentioned controllers. Both on-off and PI controllers were able to maintain the tank and room temperatures to the desired set-point temperatures however they did not make use of night-time electricity.
PI controller and Model Predictive Controller (MPC) based on thermal comfort are developed in this thesis. Predicted mean vote (PMV) was used for controlling purposes and it was modelled by using room air and radiant temperatures as the varying parameters while assuming other parameters as constants. The MPC dealt well with the disturbances and occupancy patterns. Heat energy was also stored into the fabric by using lower night-time electricity tariffs.
This research also investigated the issue of model mismatch and its effect on the prediction results of MPC. MPC performed well when there was no mismatch in the MPC model and simulation model but it struggled when there was a mismatch. A genetic algorithm (GA) known as a non-dominated sorting genetic algorithm (NSGA II) was used to solve two different objective functions, and the mixed objective from the application domain led to slightly superior results.
Overall results showed that the MPC performed best by providing better thermal comfort, consuming less electric energy and making better use of cheap night-time electricity by load shifting and storing heat energy in the heating tank. The energy cost was reduced after using the model predictive controller.
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council