Heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems account for a large percentage of energy consumption in buildings. Implementation of efficient optimisation and control mechanisms has been identified as one crucial way to help reduce and shift HVAC systems’ energy consumption to both save economic costs and foster improved integration with renewables. This has led to the development of various control techniques, some of which have produced promising results. However, very few of these control mechanisms have fully considered important factors such as electricity time of use (TOU) price information, occupant thermal comfort, computational complexity, and nonlinear HVAC dynamics to design a demand response schema. In this paper, a novel two-stage integrated approach for such is proposed and evaluated. A model predictive control (MPC)-based optimiser for supervisory setpoint control is integrated with a digital parameter-adaptive controller for use in a demand response/demand management environment. The optimiser is designed to shift the heating load (and hence electrical load) to off-peak periods by minimising a trade-off between thermal comfort and electricity costs, generating a setpoint trajectory for the inner loop HVAC tracking controller. The tracking controller provides HVAC model information to the outer loop for calibration purposes. By way of calibrated simulations, it was found that significant energy saving and cost reduction could be achieved in comparison to a traditional on/off or variable HVAC control system with a fixed setpoint temperature.
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