Evaluating optimal control of active insulation and HVAC systems in residential buildings

Amin Sepehri, Gregory S. Pavlak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Recently, active insulation systems (AIS) have been conceptualized in building envelopes to optimally modulate thermal resistance in response to changing environmental conditions. Building flexibility can further be improved if the building is also equipped with optimized heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) control. In this work, we investigate the annual potential benefits of jointly optimizing AIS and HVAC system controls in both heating and cooling days over all climate zones (CZs) in the U.S. To reduce the computational complexity of applying model predictive control (MPC) to annual operations and detailed whole-building energy models, timeseries clustering was used to identify a set of representative days for optimizing in each climate zone. To isolate the increase in benefits from this joint optimization, we compare the performance to cases where the AIS and HVAC controls are optimized separately. Results indicate savings potential in all CZs, with the largest annual average savings of 9.02% and 4.02% observed in the cooling days with large daily temperature swings and heating days with cold sunny conditions, respectively. Savings patterns across climate zone, day types, and HVAC modes (i.e., heating or cooling) are also discussed along with the implications of important system design variables.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number112728
JournalEnergy and Buildings
StatePublished - Feb 15 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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