Modeling of HVAC Configurations for De-Carbonization in a Mid-Size Hospital

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Grant, Zachary
Hwang, Yunho
As the threat of climate change becomes more imminent, there has been increasing emphasis on technologies that reduce carbon emissions in the HVAC sector. The clear path forward given existing technologies is electrification since electricity production has future potential to become cleaner. In terms of building type, high ventilation requirements and near continuous occupancy make healthcare facilities some of the highest energy users. HVAC equipment runs all day and night in these facilities with little change. Conventional HVAC equipment such as a boiler is proven to consume more energy than heat pump systems. More specifically, the Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) heat pump and the Ground Source Heat Pump (GSHP) are areas of ongoing research. This analysis included creating whole-building energy models using EnergyPlus and OpenStudio to compare the energy consumption for these heat pump configurations and some cheaper electrification alternatives. The results suggested that the GSHP system possessed the greatest potential for energy savings and thus decarbonization given its higher efficiency during times of extreme ambient temperatures compared to other options.