Evaluating synergistic effect of optimally controlling commercial building thermal mass portfolios

Gregory S. Pavlak, Gregor P. Henze, Vincent J. Cushing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


In order to achieve a sustainable energy future, advanced control paradigms will be critical at both building and grid levels to achieve harmonious integration of energy resources. This research explores the potential for synergistic effects that may exist through communal coordination of commercial building operations. A framework is presented for diurnal planning of multi-building thermal mass and HVAC system operational strategies in consideration of real-time energy prices, peak demand charges, and ancillary service revenues. Optimizing buildings as a portfolio achieved up to seven additional percentage points of cost savings over individually optimized cases, depending on the simulation case study. The magnitude and nature of synergistic effect was ultimately dependent upon the portfolio construction, grid market design, and the conditions faced by buildings when optimized individually. Enhanced energy and cost savings opportunities were observed by taking the novel perspective of optimizing building portfolios in multiple grid markets, motivating the pursuit of future smart grid advancements that take a holistic and communal vantage point.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)161-176
Number of pages16
StatePublished - May 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • General Energy
  • Pollution
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Fuel Technology
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Modeling and Simulation


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