The effect of smart heating control on draught in residential buildings

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Insinööritieteiden korkeakoulu | Master's thesis
Sustainable Energy in Buildings and Built Environment
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Master's Programme in Advanced Energy Solutions (AAE)
The global trend in achieving carbon neutrality by 2030 has resulted in a growing interest in intelligent buildings with implemented smart heating controls. This is mainly due to the fact that buildings are responsible for more than 30% of final energy use and about 40% of global CO2 emissions. Furthermore, smart heating systems have proven to be an effective tool for utilities and building owners, increasing cost and energy savings roughly by 5-15% and decreasing peak loads by 15-20%. Although these systems are not new and have been utilized for decades, introducing more complex algorithms and comprehensive data management techniques has led to an improvement in efficiency and reliability. However, there is still insufficient discussion of the effect of the constantly changing indoor environment on residents' thermal comfort. In this thesis, the main objective was to define a possible correlation between adjustable inlet water temperature and indoor airflow velocity using data analysis. In order to do it, field measurements were conducted in two residential buildings with different layouts and ventilation systems. Initially, the experiments were initiated by Espoon Asunnot since constantly receiving complaints on thermal comfort in some of the buildings after implementing smart heating controls. The field measurements were divided into baseline and intervention periods. Thermal comfort in the apartments was investigated by installing sensors on walls, radiator and window surfaces. The draught risk was examined by air velocity transducers installed at several heights. Furthermore, additional data was retrieved from Leanheat's cloud database and the Finnish Meteorological Institute. At the end of the measurements period, the smoke test was performed to visualize airflow movement near the window area. The software used for data analysis and visualization was Python(version 3.0) with included libraries. Data analysis from conducted field measurements indicates no correlation between temperatures and airflow velocity. The increase in air velocities was noticed during the exhaust ventilation boosting time, but airspeed was within acceptable limits. During the intervention period, when the temperature was higher, occupants' satisfaction level increased from 13% to 31%. On the whole, according to data and survey, there were noticeably fewer problems with draught in the mechanically ventilated building(45%) compared to the exhaust-only building(82%). In conclusion, draught in the building might be caused by temperature fluctuations, which in this case was around 3C.
Kosonen, Risto
Thesis advisor
Salo, Sonja
thermal comfort, data analysis, field measurements, draught risk
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