Building Simulation: An International Journal

Article Title

Power consumption and energy efficiency of VRF system based on large scale monitoring virtual sensors


variable refrigerant flow (VRF), energy efficiency, virtual sensor, residential building


Space cooling energy consumption is a significant component of building energy consumption, and in recent years it has attracted much attention worldwide owing to its significantly increasing usage. The variable refrigerant flow (VRF) system is one common type of cooling equipment for buildings in China and is applied extensively to residential and office buildings. The performance of VRF systems significantly influences the cooling energy consumption of buildings. The system energy efficiency and electricity consumption are the main indicators employed to evaluate the performance of VRF systems. It is hard to obtain the actual energy efficiency and electricity consumption of VRF systems in buildings because of the high cost of the required complicated measurements. This study proposes a virtual sensor modeling method to determine the actual energy efficiency and electricity consumption of 344 VRF systems in residential buildings. Statistical and clustering analyses are conducted to determine the energy efficiency and electricity consumption to obtain distributions and typical operation load patterns of VRF systems in residential buildings in China. The main findings are as follows: the main range of the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) for the cooling season is from 2.9 to 4.4; the median SEER in the Hot Summer and Cold Winter zone is lower than in another climate zones; the longer cooling duration may lead to greater electricity consumption, and the electricity load for VRF systems electricity load is periodic for each day. The oversizing issue is common for VRF systems in the dataset, which also led to the lower energy efficiency of VRF systems. The high usage of VRF systems appeared from July 27th to August 26th. The findings provide recommendations for designing VRF systems in residential buildings.


Tsinghua University Press