Advances in Applied Energy (Nov 2021)

Sensor impacts on building and HVAC controls: A critical review for building energy performance

  • Yeonjin Bae,
  • Saptarshi Bhattacharya,
  • Borui Cui,
  • Seungjae Lee,
  • Yanfei Li,
  • Liang Zhang,
  • Piljae Im,
  • Veronica Adetola,
  • Draguna Vrabie,
  • Matt Leach,
  • Teja Kuruganti

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 4
p. 100068


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Building operations rely heavily on control systems and sensors. This paper provides a sophisticated literature review on sensor systems in building/HVAC systems, particularly in the context of controls, and their impacts on energy efficiency and thermal comfort. This study aims to understand the previous and current research and identify future research opportunities on this subject. The reviewed sensor systems were used for heuristic rule-based controls, local controls, and advanced optimal controls for existing and emerging technologies. Five major aspects of sensors are reviewed here: control loops for sensors, sensor types, sensor locations, sensor data, and a sensor impact evaluation framework. To augment the literature review, comprehensive standardized interviews were also conducted with relevant industry experts and practitioners. These interviews were designed and performed to (1) identify significant factors for selecting sensor sets and current undergoing issues, (2) identify potential improvements in sensor configuration/deployment, and (3) integrate expert (e.g., researcher, building operation practitioner) knowledge and experiences to develop structured use-case scenarios. Researchers collected and analyzed 31 interview responses for this paper.