Tradeoffs in optimization of Active Insulation Systems and HVAC: A case study in residential buildings

Amin Sepehri, Gregory Pavlak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Active insulation systems (AIS) have been conceptualized to make buildings more responsive to changing environmental conditions, creating energy efficiency and flexibility gains. Building flexibility and efficiency can be further improved if the building is also equipped with optimized HVAC system controls. Optimal control of AIS and HVAC systems can be used to activate thermal mass, and past work has quantified the potential benefits of jointly optimizing both systems. In this work, we more fully elucidate and evaluate the potential tradeoffs between optimal control of these technologies with respect to building energy use and peak demand–including different configurations of heat pump systems and integrated building thermal energy storage. Tradeoffs are revealed by applying a multi-objective optimal control framework and comparing the Pareto optimal sets across various system configurations. Discussion of the results provides insights into how buildings can be best designed and controlled to achieve both energy efficiency and flexibility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)927-935
Number of pages9
JournalScience and Technology for the Built Environment
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes

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