Building Robotics Tunes HVAC to Personal Preferences

by | May 15, 2015

comfyGlumac’s new 17,500-sq-foot office is the first Net Zero Tenant Improvement Living Building Challenge-registered project in the United States and occupies one floor in the 62-story, 1.1-million-sq-foot Aon Center, the second tallest building in Los Angeles.

With limited opportunity to implement renewable energy strategies, Glumac turned its focus toward innovative energy reduction techniques.

One technique was to employ Building Robotics‘ Comfy to tune HVAC to occupant requests to eliminate unnecessary conditioning. Utilizing data from occupant requests, Comfy teaches the building control system to adjust temperature setpoints in specific zones according to occupancy and personal preferences. Comfy allows Glumac to remove the zone temperature setpoint and push the thermal comfort level to the limit. Instead of the HVAC system maintaining a given zone’s temperature setpoint, the system works only to satisfy occupants’ thermal comfort.

Over time, Comfy’s learning algorithm optimizes each zone based on occupant requests. After nearly six months of using Comfy, the office is still experiencing a high level of engagement among Glumac LA’s employees. Eighty-five percent of occupants are using Comfy and more than half use the service at least once a week.

Like many projects striving to achieve Net Zero Energy, Glumac’s office utilizes a combination of low-energy radiant systems paired with supplemental ventilation and cooling via VAVs. Deploying Comfy has allowed Glumac to avoid using the air-based systems, and instead rely almost exclusively on the radiant systems to keep the space comfortable, thus keeping energy use at its lowest possible level. While Comfy has been active at Glumac, cooling has been achieved by radiant alone 93 percent of the time.

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