PEAR – Test facility for energy efficient automation and control of buildings

The energy demand calculated in the design phase often differs from measured values in the actual building operation. This projects reviews building automation and operation by presenting a solution how to assess energy efficiency of control strategies in the fields of air conditioning systems, concrete core activation and free cooling. The results are implemented in the demonstration building "Post am Rochus".

Short Description

According to current state of the art, building HVAC systems are designed with regard to the maximum expected load (especially heating and cooling). These peak loads, however, are only required a few hours in the year, leaving the system most of the time running in "part-load operation". Efficiency of part-load operation strongly depends on the expertise and experience of the design and planning team. It is a challenging and resource intensive task, which is currently a weakness in the overall planning process.

The research project PEAR examines, evaluates and optimizes energy-efficient building systems in terms of their control strategies with the primary objective of significantly reducing the duration of the commissioning phase, as well as guaranteeing a consistently energy-optimized operation while maintaining comfort. The project developed a new hardware-in-the-loop method, which was tested in the demonstration building "Post am Rochus". Hardware-in-the-loop connects building automation hardware with a simulation environment, in order to analyze and optimize the interaction between controls and (simulated) energy systems. The main project objectives are:

  • the development of intelligent control strategies for an efficient operation of part load conditions in complex building systems with a focus on cooling and humidity control using dynamic building and system simulation, and
  • the application of the HIL approach as part of quality assurance measures during the development of an optimized building operation.

By using simulations to analyze the control strategies and its effects on efficient operation of the building right from the beginning of the building life cycle, valuable inputs for the control engineering team could be gained. A completely new aspect of quality measures could be achieved using the HIL approach. This allows checking the control strategies in terms of errors and efficiency before it is actually implemented in the building. The comparative analysis of control strategies using dynamic-thermal simulations has enormous benefits, as far as the knowledge gained is communicated to subsequent disciplines. On the other hand, currently high effort is needed for modelling complex service plants. Further research should therefore go into the direction of simplification of simulation models.

The research-intensive approach delivers essential knowledge and engineering fundamentals how building operation can be made more energy efficient. On the one hand, the applicability of the developed concepts is demonstrated in the test building "Post am Rochus" and on the other hand, replicability of results to other buildings is given by the project's generic approach.

Project Partners

Project management

AIT Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH, Energy Department

Project or cooperation partners

  • Österreichische Post AG

  • teamgmi Ingenieurbüro GmbH

  • IBO Österreichisches Institut für Bauen und Ökologie GmbH

  • BPS Engineering Techn. Büro z Planung Haustechnischer Anlagen GmbH

Contact Address

AIT Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH, Energy Department
Katharina Eder
Giefinggasse 2
A-1210 Vienna
Tel.: +43 50550-6098
Fax: +43 50550-6613