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Energy 107 (2016) 196e204

Contents lists available at ScienceDirect

Energy
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/energy

Model-based multi-objective optimal control of a VRF (variable


refrigerant ow) combined system with DOAS (dedicated outdoor air
system) using genetic algorithm under heating conditions
Wonuk Kim a, Seung Won Jeon b, Yongchan Kim a, *
a
b

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Korea University, Anam-Dong, Sungbuk-Gu, Seoul, 136-713, Republic of Korea
Korea Institute of Civil Engineering and Building Technology, 64, 182 Beon-Gil, Mado-Ro, Mado-Myeon, Hwaseong-Si, Republic of Korea

a r t i c l e i n f o

a b s t r a c t

Article history:
Received 19 November 2015
Received in revised form
10 March 2016
Accepted 30 March 2016

A VRF (variable refrigerant ow) combined system adopting a DOAS (dedicated outdoor air system) has
been proposed to reduce the total energy consumption while satisfying IAQ (indoor air quality) and THC
(thermal and humidity comfort) with minimum outdoor air. The objective of this study is to develop a
model-based multi-objective optimal control strategy for the VRF combined system with multi-zone in
order to optimize the multi-objective functions of the THC, IAQ, and total energy consumption. The
performance of the VRF combined system was evaluated using the EnergyPlus model. The VRF combined
system was optimized by GA (genetic algorithm) and RSM (response surface methodology) with the
multi-objective functions of the THC, IAQ, and total energy consumption. The proposed multi-objective
optimal control strategies (A and B) were compared with the TS (time schedule) strategy and the DCVH
(demand controlled ventilation with humidifying). Optimal control strategy B reduced the total energy
consumption by 20.4% and increased the ratio of the hours satisfying the extended comfort zone by 19.1%
compared to the DCVH strategy.
2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords:
Variable refrigerant ow
Dedicated outdoor air system
Model-based control
Multi-objective optimization
Multi-zone ventilation

1. Introduction
Nowadays, building energy management is strongly inuenced
by IAQ (indoor air quality) and thermal comfort in working spaces.
While ventilation with fresh OA (outdoor air) is essential for maintaining acceptable IAQ, it increases the thermal load of the working
space. New ventilation systems using novel control methods such as
DOAS (dedicated outdoor air system) and DCV (demand controlled
ventilation) have been proposed to reduce the total energy consumption while satisfying IAQ with minimum OA. The conventional
centralized all-air system consumes substantial energy to ventilate
the air in a building for thermal comfort and IAQ, but the DOAS can
reduce energy consumption by ventilating air only for IAQ [1]. In
addition, the DOAS can allow easy control of IAQ by separating
ventilation air from heating and cooling air [2]. The DOAS is often
operated using DCV (demand controlled ventilation). The DCV controls ventilation airow to satisfy the balance between IAQ and energy saving [3]. Therefore, the DOAS has been considered as an
alternative to the centralized all-air system in commercial buildings.

* Corresponding author. Tel.: 82 2 3290 3366; fax: 82 2 921 5439.


E-mail address: yongckim@korea.ac.kr (Y. Kim).
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.energy.2016.03.139
0360-5442/ 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

In the centralized all-air system with multi-zone, conventional


ventilation strategies often cause over-ventilation in some zones
and under-ventilation in other zones when the heating/cooling
loads and occupancy proles in each zone differ signicantly [4].
Therefore, several ventilation control methods for the centralized
all-air system have been proposed to improve energy efciency and
provide uniform air-distribution to a multi-zone [4e6]. Xu et al.
[4,6] reset the set point air temperature of the critical zone, which
requires the largest fresh OA fraction, to optimize the OA ratio of SA
(supply air). However, these control methods for the centralized allair system only resolved the imbalance of IAQ between zones using
the set point reset of the critical zone. It is difcult to resolve the
imbalance of IAQ and humidity at the same time using the set point
reset of the critical zone. Therefore, it is necessary to apply multiobjective optimization to satisfy IAQ and THC (thermal and humidity comfort) in multi-zone with high energy efciency.
A VRF (variable refrigerant ow) system has been considered as
a favorite heating/cooling system in commercial buildings due to
the high part-load efciency and individual control capability of
thermal comfort in multi-zone [7e9]. Since the VRF system only
circulates indoor air for a sensible load without in-taking OA, it is
necessary to install a ventilation system to control IAQ and latent
load [10,11]. Therefore, the VRF system usually adopts an additional

W. Kim et al. / Energy 107 (2016) 196e204

Nomenclature
C
CO2 concentration, ppm
COP
coefcient of performance
CR
combination ratio
Cv(RMSE)coefcient of variation of the root mean squared error
DCV
demand controlled ventilation
DCVH
DCV with a humidier
DOAS
dedicated outdoor air system
E
energy consumption, MJ
EA
exhaust air
EEV
electronic expansion valve
EIR
energy input ratio
GA
genetic algorithm
HVAC
heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning
IAQ
indoor air quality
IDU
indoor unit
L
length, m
m
mass ow rate, kg s1
MBE
mean bias error
O
occupancy
OA
outdoor air
Obj
objective function
ODU
outdoor unit
PLR
part-load ratio
PMV
predicted mean vote
R2
coefcient of determination
RA
return air
RH
relative humidity, %

ventilation system, such as DOAS [12,13] and VAV (variable air


volume) [14]. Ventilation effect [13,15] and optimal load ratio between VRF and VAV [14] were reported in a VRF system combined
with a VAV system (called a VRF combined system). In addition, a
simulation model for the VRF combined system was developed in a
multi-zone building [9,16]. In these studies, zonal temperatures in
multi-zone were controlled by each IDU (indoor unit) in the VRF
system, while zonal IAQ and humidity were controlled by SA using
the centralized air system. However, the simultaneous control on
the imbalance of zonal IAQ and humidity in multi-zone has not
been studied in the VRF combined system.
The simultaneous optimal control of the THC, IAQ, and total
energy consumption in a VRF combined system with multi-zone
has been rarely studied in the literature. The objective of this
study is to develop a model-based multi-objective optimal control
strategy for the VRF combined system with multi-zone in order to
reduce the total energy consumption in the heating condition while
achieving acceptable THC and IAQ in each zone. The VRF combined
system adopted a DOAS with a humidier to control the humidity
in multi-zone, and the set point reset of the temperature in the high
humidity zone was applied to reduce the humidity imbalance between zones. The VRF combined system with the humidier was
evaluated using a building performance simulation and then optimized by GA (genetic algorithm) with multi-objective functions of
the THC, IAQ, and total energy consumption. Moreover, the effects
of weighting factors for the objective functions were analyzed using
RSM (response surface methodology).

2. VRF combined system


Fig. 1 shows the model-based optimal control of the VRF combined system. The VRF combined system consisted of an air-source

RSM
SA
T
THC
TS
VAV
VRF
wf

197

response surface methodology


supply air
temperature,  C
thermal and humidity comfort
time schedule
variable air volume
variable refrigerant ow
weighting factor

Subscripts
DOAS
dedicated outdoor air system
E
total energy consumption
high
high humidity zone
humidier humidier
i
ith air conditioned zone
IAQ
indoor air quality
IDB
indoor air dry-bulb
in
indoor
max
maximum
min
minimum
out
outdoor
OWB
outdoor air wet-bulb
p
pipe
SA
supply air
sp
set point
sup
superheat
THC
thermal and humidity comfort
VRF
variable refrigerant ow

VRF heat pump, a DOAS with a plate type total heat exchanger, and
an electrically heated steam humidier. The VRF system was
designed to cover the sensible load in the conditioned multi-zone.
The VRF system consisted of a single ODU (outdoor unit) and multiIDUs for multi-zone. The VRF system can handle various heating/
cooling loads in multi-zone by controlling a variable speed
compressor and EEV (electronic expansion valve) according to
refrigerant superheat, indoor temperature, and occupancy. The
heating and cooling capacities of the VRF system were enhanced by
increasing the compressor speed, and the mass ow rate through
the VRF system was controlled by the EEV [17]. The DOAS with
energy recovery was used as a separate ventilation unit to change
indoor air with fresh OA. The DOAS reduced the additional heating/
cooling loads resulting from in-taking OA by the energy recovery
between EA (exhaust air) and OA [1]. The DOAS with the humidier
was used to cover the latent load and IAQ in the conditioned multizone. An electrically heated steam humidier was installed between the zone splitter and the outlet of the DOAS system.
The VRF combined system was installed in a building with 7 aboveground oors and 1 underground oor, which is located in Seoul,
Korea. Table 1 shows the details of the building. As shown in Fig. 2, the
oor plan consists of six zones, a hallway, an elevator, two stairs, and a
toilet. Only one oor with the six zones and a hallway was considered
in the simulation. The thermal conductivity of the building envelope
and the internal heat gain from the light and equipment are given in
Table 1. Table 2 shows the specications of the VRF system and DOAS.
The heating capacity and COP (coefcient of performance) of the VRF
system were 65.2 kW and 4.2, respectively, at the rated conditions. The
heating sensible effectiveness and heating latent effectiveness of the
DOAS were 76% and 54%, respectively, for the rated 100% ow condition and 79% and 56%, respectively, for the rated 75% ow condition.
The effectiveness was determined by linear interpolation or

198

W. Kim et al. / Energy 107 (2016) 196e204

Humidity
controller
DOAS
EA

Supply fan

Set point from


optimizer

Optimal set point


to predictor

SA
RA

Set point from


optimizer

OA flow
rate
controller

Humidifier Set point from


optimizer

EEV
controller

Tsp reset
controller

Tsup Tin RH O
Tout
Refrigerant
flow
controller

IDU 1

Zone 1

Tsup Tin RH O

VRF
Outdoor unit

Tsup Tin RH O
IDU i

Constraints
Damper

Damper

Zone 2
...

IDU 2

Genetic
algorithm

Iterative calls
during
optimizing

Data from
predictor

...

OA

Multi-objective
function
estimator

User-define
weight factors

Damper

Zone i

Model-based predictor
(EnergyPlus)

Multi-objective optimizer
(MATLAB)

Fig. 1. Model-based optimal control of the VRF combined system.

Table 1
Brief description of the case building.
Section

Details

Location
Building
Total oor area
Plan and height
Operating/ofce hours
HVAC design parameter

Seoul (latitude 37.6N, longitude 127.0E)


Ofce building, 7 oors above grade, 1 below grade
756.76 m2
Rectangle, oor-to-oor 3.5 m
Mon. to Fri.: 08:00e18:00/09:00e18:00
Lighting load 20 W m2, Equipment load 13.78 W m2
Space design temperature: Cooling 26  C, Heating 20  C
DOAS operates at 9:00 AM, 13:00 PM, 17:00 PM, and 21:00 PM for an hour.
Inltration (air change rate): 0.732 h1
3 mm granite cladding, 65 mm expanded polystyrene, 75 mm extruded polystyrene, 25 mm gypsum board
(U-value 0.22 W m2 K1)
80 mm concrete, 110 mm extruded polystyrene, 150 mm concrete, 25 mm gypsum board
(U-value 0.22 W m2 K1)
3 mm granite cladding, 30 mm mortar cement, 150 mm concrete, 50 mm extruded polystyrene
(U-value 0.35 W m2 K1)
3 mm double clear glass, 13 mm air-space
(U-value 2.76 W m2 K1)

Building envelope

External wall
Roof
Floor
Window

Note: Based on the Korean building regulation, the minimum ventilation air ow rate requirement for the ofce building is 34.2 m3 h1 per person. In the ventilation air ow
rate, the exhaust air from the kitchen and bathrooms can be included. In addition, the minimum occupant load requirement is 9.3 m2 per person.

extrapolation from the values for the 100% and 75% ow rate conditions. In addition, the air ow rate was specied at 2000 m3 h1.
The thermal load of each zone was strongly dependent on the
OA temperature, occupancy density, heating load from the lighting
and equipment, set point SA-mass ow rate (msp,SA) in the DOAS,
and set point air temperature (Tsp) in the VRF system. The operation
schedules of the occupancy, lighting, and equipment were determined by an on-the-spot survey by the previous study [18] in the
same building. In addition, the air change rate for building inltration was assumed to be 0.732 h1, which was estimated based on
the volume of the building space and the capacity of the exhaust
fans in toilets [19]. Fig. 3 shows the temperature and humidity ratio

of the OA in the design day, and Fig. 4 shows the variation of occupancy density in each zone. msp,SA was estimated to satisfy IAQ,
which was represented by CO2 concentration. The CO2 concentration was dependent on the occupancy density and msp,SA. The CO2
concentration of the OA was assumed to be constant with 400 ppm.
3. Development of multi-objective optimal control strategy
3.1. Computational model for multi-objective optimal control
The energy performance of the VRF combined system installed
in a research ofce building was simulated using the EnergyPlus

W. Kim et al. / Energy 107 (2016) 196e204

199

Fig. 4. Variation of occupancy density in each zone.

Fig. 2. Typical oor plan of the case building.

Table 2
Specications of the VRF system and DOAS.
System

Details

VRF system Rated cooling/heating capacity (kW): 58.0/65.2


Rated cooling/heating COP: 4.02/4.20
DOAS
Cooling/heating sensible effectiveness at 100% air ow (%): 76/76
Cooling/heating latent effectiveness at 100% air ow (%): 53/54
Cooling/heating sensible effectiveness at 75% air ow (%): 78/79
Cooling/heating latent effectiveness at 75% air ow (%): 55/56
Power consumption (kW): 1.5
Air ow rate (m3 h1): 2000

0.0028

Outdoor air temperature ( C)

Outdoor air temperature


Outdoor air humidity ratio
0

0.0024

-2

0.0020

-4

0.0016

-6

0.0012

0.0008

-8
0

10

12

14

16

18

20

22

Outdoor air humidity ratio (kgv/kga)

model [20]. The VRF system was simulated using Raustad's model
[21] with the manufacturer's data. The heating performance curves
for the VRF system are given in Table 3. The capacity and power
consumption of the VRF system are expressed in terms of the

24

Time (h)
Fig. 3. Variation of outdoor air temperature and humidity ratio on the test day.

following variables: (1) indoor and outdoor conditions (TIDB and


TOWB), (2) the PLR (part-load ratio), (3) the CR (combination ratio),
which is dened as the ratio of the total IDU rated capacity to the
total ODU rated capacity, and (4) the losses associated with the
refrigerant distribution piping. Additional energy consumptions
such as defrost operation, oil return operation, and long refrigerant
lines [22] were also considered in the simulation. The DOAS containing a plate heat exchanger and a single air duct was simulated
using the effectivenesseNTU method [23]. The sensible and latent
effectiveness of the plate heat exchanger were determined based
on the manufacturer's data.
The optimization of the VRF combined system was conducted
using GA [6,24] with the EnergyPlus program. The building energy
performance data from the EnergyPlus were used as the input for
MATLAB [25]. The objective function of the optimization was estimated by MATLAB. The GA generated the population of the candidate
solutions for the input variables. The population size of the GA was
200 and the number of generations was determined by twenty times
of the number of the control variables. The proper solutions remained,
while the other solutions were reset in the next generation by the
genetic rules. This procedure was repeated until the nal solution was
reached. Finally, the optimized input variables were determined in the
model-based multi-objective optimization. All calculations for the
EnergyPlus model were carried out using the hourly measured
weather data [18] for Seoul, Korea from November, 2011 to October,
2012. For the optimization study, the measured weather data in a
single winter design day were used, and the EnergyPlus model was
initialized using the simulations on previous warm-up days.
The EnergyPlus model was validated in a real building by
comparing the predicted monthly total energy consumption with
the measured data in 2012. The measured energy consumption
represents the total energy used in the HVAC (heating, ventilating,
and air-conditioning) systems, lighting, and equipment. As shown
in Fig. 5, the simulation results were consistent with the measured
data with the MBE (mean bias error) of 4.1%, and the coefcient of
variation of the RMSE (root mean squared error), Cv of 7.6%. Based
on the M&V Guidelines 3.0 [26], the recommended MBE and Cv
(RMSE) were 5% and 15%, respectively. The errors of the EnergyPlus model were within the acceptable range.
3.2. Multi-objective optimal control strategy
In this study, two multi-objective control strategies (A and B)
were applied in the VRF combined system. The control strategy A

200

W. Kim et al. / Energy 107 (2016) 196e204

Table 3
Heating performance curves for the VRF system.
ODU
Curve
input
Piping
description
correction
factor
X
Y
Z
a
b
c

Lp
e
Normalized
factor
1.006
1.304E-3
3.699E-6

7.000E-9

e
f
g
X min
X max
Y min
Y max

e
e
e
7.5
225
e
e

IDU
Capacity Capacity ratio
modier
ratio
boundary function for low
T

EIR
EIR modier EIR modier EIR modier EIR modier
Capacity ratio
boundary function for function for function for function for
modier
high PLR
low PLR
high T
low T
function for high
T

Combination
ratio EIR
correction
factor

Capacity ratio
modier
function for T

TIDB
e
TOWB

TIDB
TOWB
Normalized
factor
1.170
4.903E-3
2.815E-4

TIDB
TOWB
Normalized
factor
2.044
6.447E-2
7.594E-4

TIDB
TOWB
Normalized
factor
29.73
2.074
1.817
0.1105
3.280E- 1.997E-3
2
1.713E-3 e

2.504E-2
3.888E-7
2.834E-4
16
24
20
2.2

5.335E-5
9.665E-7
2.138E-6
16
24
10
13.7

e
e
e
16
24
e
e

259.5
35.04
1.573
2.428E2
e
e
e
16
24
e
e

TIDB
e
TOWB

1.828E-2
8.816E-4
2.863E-3
16
24
20
0.7

TIDB
TOWB
Normalized
factor
0.8193
1.623E-3
6.109E-4

PLR
e
Normalized
factor
0.5309
1.144
2.532

PLR
e
Normalized
factor
1.221E3
3.304E3
2.969E3

CR
e
Normalized
factor
9.115
23.16
17.46

TIDB
TOWB
Normalized
factor
0.9646
1.029E-2
6.118E-4

0.9199

8.856E2

4.417

3.616E-2
5.779E-4
2.152E-3
16
24
7.6
13.7

e
e
e
0.5565
1
e
e

e
e
e
1
1.201
e
e

e
e
e
1
1.4
e
e

5.335E-5
9.665E-7
2.138E-6
16
24
20
13.7

Note: Z a bX cX2 dX3(for cubic curves); Z a bX cX2 eY fY2 gXY (for bi-quadratic curves).

included two control variables: set point SA-mass ow rate (msp,SA)


and set point relative humidity at the humidier outlet (RHsp,SA). In
control strategy A, the set point air temperature (Tsp) was xed at
20  C. In addition to the control variables included in control
strategy A, Tsp was added in control strategy B as a control variable
in the high humidity zone to overcome humidity imbalance. In
control strategy B, Zones 1, 3, and 6, which had high occupancy
density, were selected as the high humidity zone. The control
strategy B adopted a dual mode control; Tsp was xed at 20  C
except for the high humidity zone, but Tsp,high (Tsp for the high
humidity zone) was optimized in the range of 20  Ce24  C. As the
zone air temperature increases, more water vapor needs to be
added to the zones due to the decreased RH (relative humidity),
reducing the humidity imbalance between the zones.
THC and IAQ are signicantly inuenced by the control variables
such as msp,SA, RHsp,SA, and Tsp. THC and IAQ can be enhanced by

increasing msp,SA, RHsp,SA, and Tsp, but the total energy consumption
is also substantially increased. Therefore, it is necessary to control
THC and IAQ simultaneously using the multi-objective optimal
control strategy, while minimizing the total energy consumption.
THC can be expressed by the PMV (predicted mean vote) [27,28]
and RH. The common ranges of winter comfort zone
are 0.5  PMV  0.5 and 30%  RH  60% [27,29,30]. In this study,
the lower limit of PMV was extended to 1.0 in order to reduce the
total energy consumption according to Korean design standards
[31], which yielded the extended winter comfort zone. In addition,
an 8-hour average CO2 concentration must be lower than 1000 ppm
[32,33] to satisfy IAQ. Finally, the objective functions of the THC,
IAQ, and total energy consumption are expressed by Eqs. (1)e(3),
respectively.

ObjTHC
300

i1

Measured
Predicted
Energy consumption (GJ)

7
1X
Max0; PMVi  0:5 Max0;  1:0  PMVi
7
0:5   1:0

Cv(RMSE) = 7.6%

MBE = -4.1%

7
1X
Max0; RHi  60 Max0; 30  RHi
7
60  30
i1

(1)
200

ObjIAQ

(2)

i1

100

ObjE
0

11 Dec. 012 Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun.


20
2
v.,
n.,
o
Ja
N
Month

7
1X
Max0; Ci  1000 Max0; 400  Ci
7
1000  400

.
l.
Ju Aug

Fig. 5. Comparison between the measured and the predicted monthly energy
consumption.

X

EDOAS EHumidifier EVRF Elight Eequipment

(3)

The total objective function was derived in terms of the THC,


IAQ, and total energy consumption to determine the optimal control strategy. As given in Eq. (4), the multi-objective functions were
transformed into the total objective function by combining the
weighting factors with each objective function [34e36]. The
optimal control variables were determined by minimizing ObjTotal,
as given in Eq. (5).

W. Kim et al. / Energy 107 (2016) 196e204

ObjTotal wfTHC $



ObjTHC  ObjTHC;min

4. Simulation results and discussion


ObjTHC;max  ObjTHC;min


ObjIAQ  ObjIAQ ;min

wfIAQ $
ObjIAQ ;max  ObjIAQ ;min


ObjE  ObjE;min

wfE $
ObjE;max  ObjE;min

MinObjtotal
0 kg s1  m_ SA  1:77 kg s1
30%  RHSA  80%
20 C  Tsp  24 Conly for control strategy B

(4)

(5)

In Eq. (5), the upper limit of msp,SA was determined by the peak
ventilation load, and the maximum RHsp,SA was determined to avoid
water condensation and mold growth [37].
3.3. Optimal weighting factors with response surface methodology
Since the objective functions were signicantly inuenced by
the weighting factors, the optimal weighting factors for the
control strategies A and B were determined by the RSM. The
relationships between the weighting factors and objective
functions were analyzed using the Box-Behnken design method.
As shown in Table 4, a total 13 runs were performed. As a result,
the second-order response surface model for each objective
function is expressed by Eq. (6). The coefcients in Eq. (6) are
given in Table 5. The coefcients of determination (R2) for
ObjTHC, ObjIAQ, ObjE, and ObjTotal were found to be 0.96, 0.92,
0.97, and 0.86 for the control strategy A, and 0.94, 0.89, 0.95,
and 0.99 for the control strategy B, respectively. Finally, the
optimal weighting factors for the THC, IAQ, and total energy
consumption were determined as 0.71, 0.64, and 1.00 for the
control strategy A, and 0.57, 0.69, and 0.72 for the control
strategy B, respectively.
2
2
Y b0 b1 wfTHC b2 wfIAQ b3 wfE b11 wfTHC
b22 wfIAQ

b33 wfE2 b12 wfTHC wfIAQ b13 wfTHC wfE b23 wfIAQ wfE
(6)

Table 4
Weighting factors assignment using the BoxeBehnken design method.
Case wfTHC, weighting
assigned to THC

wfIAQ, weighting
assigned to IAQ

wfE, weighting assigned


to energy

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13

0.0
0.5
0.0
0.0
1.0
1.0
0.5
0.5
0.5
1.0
0.0
1.0
0.5

0.0
0.0
0.5
0.5
0.5
0.5
0.0
1.0
1.0
0.0
1.0
1.0
0.5

0.5
0.0
0.0
1.0
0.0
1.0
1.0
0.0
1.0
0.5
0.5
0.5
0.5

201

The performances of the VRF combined system, applying


optimal control strategies A and B with the optimal weighting
factors were compared with those using the TS (time schedule)
strategy and the DCVH (demand controlled ventilation with humidifying) strategy in the case building. The TS strategy operates
the DOAS four times a day with a constant msp,SA without having an
additional humidier. In the DCVH strategy, msp,SA was determined
by considering the occupancy and oor area, and RHsp,SA was
controlled so that the RHs in all zones did not fall below 30%. msp,SA
was evaluated by the summation of each zonal ventilation rate. The
zonal ventilation rate was determined to be a higher value between
the estimated values based on the occupancy density and the oor
area [38]. In optimal control strategies A and B, msp,SA and RHsp,SA
were optimized by applying the multi-objective functions of the
THC, IAQ, and total energy consumption. In addition, in optimal
control strategy B, Tsp,high was also optimized to minimize humidity
imbalance.
Fig. 6 shows the variations of the control variables for the four
control strategies. msp,SA varied periodically in the TS strategy and
DCVH strategy, while it was optimized for each time step in optimal
control strategies A and B. In optimal strategies A and B, the control
variables experienced large oscillations between consecutive time
steps because they were controlled for daily optimization considering the time-lag effect by thermal inertia [25]. The average msp,SA
in the TS strategy, DCVH strategy, optimal control strategy A, and
optimal control strategy B were 0.65 kg s1, 1.39 kg s1, 0.98 kg s1,
and 1.06 kg s1, respectively. As shown in Table 6, the energy
consumption in the DOAS (EDOAS) signicantly increased with
increasing the average msp,SA. The average msp,SA was the highest in
the DCVH strategy because IAQ needs to be satised in each zone
for all times. RHsp,SA was optimized for each time step in the DCVH
strategy, and optimal control strategies A and B. However, RHsp,SA
was 0% in the TS strategy because the TS strategy did not have an
additional humidier. The average RHsp,SA in the DCVH strategy,
optimal control strategy A, and optimal control strategy B were
59.5%, 51.8%, and 50.8%, respectively. As shown in Table 6, the DCVH
strategy showed the highest energy consumption in the humidier
(EHumidier) due to the high msp,SA and RHsp,SA. Optimal control
strategy B showed higher EHumidier than optimal control strategy A
due to the elevated Tsp in the high humidity zone, even though
these strategies had comparable msp,SA and RHsp,SA. In addition, the
energy consumption in the VRF (EVRF) for optimal control strategies
A and B was lower than that for the TS strategy and DCVH strategy
due to the optimized control.
Fig. 7 presents the indoor thermal conditions for the four strategies in the psychrometric chart. The ratios of the hours satisfying
the extended winter comfort zone (1.0  PMV  0.5 and
30%  RH  60%) [27,30,31] over the total occupied hours were
5.6%, 35.9%, 47.9%, and 55.0% for the TS, DCVH, optimal control
strategy A, and optimal control strategy B, respectively. The TS
strategy represented the lowest hour ratio satisfying the extended
winter comfort zone with very lower RH because it did not include
the extra humidier. Optimal control strategy B showed the highest
hour ratio satisfying the extended winter comfort zone. Optimal
control strategy B reduced the humidity imbalance between zones
because it showed a higher air temperature than the other strategies. Generally, the inow of water vapor increases with the increase in the air temperature. In addition, the DCVH strategy
showed an over-humidication problem because it humidied the
SA until the RHs in all zones exceeded 30%.
Table 7 shows the environmental performance and objective
function for the four control strategies. In the TS strategy, the daily
means of PMV and RH were very low at 1.38% and 20.7%,

202

W. Kim et al. / Energy 107 (2016) 196e204

Table 5
Coefcients of the second-order response surface model.
Coefcient

b0
b1
b2
b3
b11
b22
b33
b12
b13
b23

Strategy A

Strategy B

ObjTHC

ObjIAQ

ObjE

ObjTotal

ObjTHC

ObjIAQ

ObjE

ObjTotal

1.16
0.28
0.09
0.22
0.10
0.03
0.05
0.13
0.05
0.09

0.07
0.09
0.21
0.14
0.04
0.15
0.02
0.09
0.04
0.13

1,472,926
264,477
6846
389,010
32,450
21,162
112,581
123,663
6789
175,731

0.05
0.31
0.26
0.99
0.25
0.25
0.74
0.74
0.44
0.08

0.94
0.36
0.29
0.27
0.13
0.24
0.01
0.11
0.06
0.08

0.08
0.02
0.25
0.06
0.04
0.18
0.06
0.08
0.01
0.14

1,604,301
311,675
289,049
428,187
69,211
248,840
113,706
82,715
9088
134,198

0.17
0.46
0.43
0.55
0.34
0.24
0.30
0.16
0.60
0.12

Fig. 6. Variations of control variables in the TS strategy, DCVH strategy, optimal control
strategy A, and optimal control strategy B: (a) set point SA-mass ow rate and (b) set
point RH.

respectively. ObjTHC and ObjIAQ were relatively high at 1.72 and 0.27,
respectively, which indicates large deviation from the extended
winter comfort zone with poor IAQ. In the DCVH strategy, the daily
mean PMV and RH were improved from the TS strategy, which led
to better satisfaction for the THC and IAQ with ObjTHC, and ObjIAQ of
1.26 and 0, respectively. However, the DCVH strategy showed the
largest standard deviation of RH, which indicates severe humidity
imbalance between zones. Optimal control strategies A and B
showed better daily mean PMVs of 1.06 and 0.83, respectively,
compared with the TS and DCVH strategies. Optimal control
strategy B showed the lowest ObjTHC of 0.9 with a very low ObjIAQ of
0.004. However, optimal control strategy B showed higher total
energy consumption than the TS strategy and optimal control
strategy A due to the elevated set point air temperature. The DCVH
strategy showed the highest total energy consumption due to the
over-humidication and strict regulation for IAQ. The energy savings of optimal control strategies A and B against the DCVH strategy
were 29.0% and 20.4%, respectively. Overall, optimal control strategy B can be recommended as the best control strategy in the VRF
combined system because it yielded satisfactory THC and IAQ with
reasonable energy savings compared to the DCVH strategy.
Fig. 8 shows the variation of the CO2 concentration in Zone 3 for
the four strategies. Zone 3 was selected as an extreme IAQ condition
because it had the lowest IAQ with the highest occupancy density.
The variation of the CO2 concentration between zones was due to
the use of a central DOAS for ventilation in a multi-zone having
different occupancy densities. The 8-hour average CO2 concentrations for Zone 3 with the TS strategy, DCVH strategy, optimal control strategy A, and optimal control strategy B were 1704, 964, 1032,
and 998 ppm, respectively. Therefore, the TS strategy and optimal
control strategy A did not satisfy the IAQ guideline [32,33] in Zone 3
in terms of the 8-hour average CO2 concentration. The TS strategy
showed very high CO2 concentration, but it represented lower CO2
concentration below 1000 ppm during DOAS operations (9:00 AM,
13:00, 17:00, and 21:00 PM). The CO2 concentration for the DCVH
strategy was always controlled below 1000 ppm because msp,SA was
adjusted only for IAQ. Optimal control strategy B showed a slightly
higher CO2 concentration than the DCVH strategy, because msp,SA
was controlled for the multi-objective functions. In optimal control
strategy B, as the occupancy density increased rapidly (9:00 AM
and 19:00 PM) and the OA humidity decreased sharply (15:30 PM),

Table 6
Energy components for the four control strategies.
Energy components

TS strategy

DCVH strategy

Optimal strategy A

Optimal strategy B

EDOAS (MJ)
EHumidier (MJ)
EVRF (MJ)

28
e
1039

101
513
973

52
298
637

53
323
770

W. Kim et al. / Energy 107 (2016) 196e204

203

CO2 concentration (ppm)

3000
TS strategy
DCVH strategy
Optimal strategy A
Optimal strategy B

2500

2000

1500

1000

500
0

10

12

14

16

18

20

22

24

Time (h)
Fig. 8. Variation of CO2 concentration in Zone 3 for the four control strategies.

consumption increased when THC was focused as a major objective


function. On the contrary, THC decreased when the energy consumption was considered as a major objective function. In addition,
the effects of wfIAQ on ObjTHC and ObjE were relatively smaller than
those of the other weighting factors. However, ObjIAQ rapidly
decreased with increasing wfIAQ. The sensitivities of the weighting
factors on the objective functions can be utilized for the optimal
control of the VRF combined system.

5. Conclusions

Fig. 7. Indoor thermal conditions for (a) the TS strategy and DCVH strategy, and (b)
optimal control strategies A and B.

the CO2 concentration peaked due to the decrease in msp,SA to


prevent a rapid increase in the total energy consumption. Even
though optimal control strategy B showed higher CO2 concentration than the DCVH strategy, it yielded lower total energy consumption with satisfactory IAQ by controlling msp,SA for the multiobjective functions.
Fig. 9 shows the effects of the weighting factors on the objective
functions predicted by the RSM model in optimal control strategy B.
When one weighting factor was changed, the others were xed at
their optimum values. ObjTHC almost linearly decreased with wfTHC,
while it increased with wfE. However, ObjE almost linearly
increased with wfTHC, while it decreased with wfE. The energy

A model-based multi-objective optimal control strategy was


proposed in a VRF combined system adopting a DOAS in order to
satisfy THC and IAQ in the conditioned multi-zone while minimizing the total energy consumption for a single winter design day.
The performance of the VRF combined system was simulated using
the EnergyPlus model. The VRF combined system was optimized by
the GA in terms of the THC, IAQ, and total energy consumption, and
the optimal weighting factors were determined by the RSM. The
multi-objective optimal control strategies A and B were compared
with the TS strategy and DCVH strategy. The TS strategy showed
poor THC and IAQ. The DCVH strategy represented improved THC
and high IAQ, but showed an over-humidication problem and
excessive energy consumption. Optimal control strategies A and B
reduced the total energy consumption by 29.0% and 20.4%,
respectively, and increased the ratio of the hours satisfying the
extended comfort zone by 12.0% and 19.1%, respectively, compared
to the DCVH strategy. Optimal control strategy B can be recommended as the best control strategy because it yielded satisfactory
THC and IAQ with substantial energy savings compared to the

Table 7
Environmental performance and objective functions for the four control strategies.
Environmental performance and objective function
Environmental performance
Daily mean of PMV
Daily mean of RH (%)
Standard deviation of RH (%)
Ratio of the winter comfort zone over the total occupied hour (%)
Objective function
THC
IAQ
Energy consumption (MJ)

TS strategy

DCVH strategy

Optimal strategy A

1.38
20.7
4.9
5.6

1.26
43.1
9.5
35.9

1.06
33.0
8.5
47.9

1.72
0.27
1371

1.26
0
1801

1.13
0.01
1279

Optimal strategy B
0.83
33.0
7.4
55.0
0.90
0.004
1433

204

W. Kim et al. / Energy 107 (2016) 196e204

Fig. 9. Effects of weighting factors on objective functions.

conventional control strategy. In addition, optimal control strategy


B can reduce the humidity imbalance between zones due to the
elevated zone air temperature and increased water vapor inow.
Acknowledgment
This work was supported by the Human Resources Development Program (No. 20144010200770) and the Energy Technology
Development Program (No. 20142010102660) with a Korea Institute of Energy Technology Evaluation and Planning (KETEP) grant
funded by the Korea Government Ministry of Trade, Industry and
Energy.
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