Assessment of Energy Savings Potential from the Use of Demand Control Ventilation Systems in General Office Spaces in California
Demand controlled ventilation (DCV) was evaluated for general office spaces in California. A medium size office building meeting the prescriptive requirements of the 2008 California building energy efficiency standards (CEC 2008) was assumed in the building energy simulations performed with the EnergyPlus program to calculate the DCV energy savings potential in five typical California climates. Three design occupancy densities and two minimum ventilation rates were used as model inputs to cover a broader range of design variations. The assumed values of minimum ventilation rates in offices without DCV, based on two different measurement methods, were 81 and 28 cfm per occupant. These rates are based on the co‐author's unpublished analyses of data from EPA's survey of 100 U.S. office buildings. These minimum ventilation rates exceed the 15 to 20 cfm per person required in most ventilation standards for offices. The cost effectiveness of applying DCV in general office spaces was estimated via a life cycle cost analyses that considered system costs and energy cost reductions.
The results of the energy modeling indicate that the energy savings potential of DCV is largest in the desert area of California (climate zone 14), followed by Mountains (climate zone 16), Central Valley (climate zone 12), North Coast (climate zone 3), and South Coast (climate zone 6).
The results of the life cycle cost analysis show DCV is cost effective for office spaces if the typical minimum ventilation rates without DCV is 81 cfm per person, except at the low design occupancy of 10 people per 1000 ft2 in climate zones 3 and 6. At the low design occupancy of 10 people per 1000 ft2, the greatest DCV life cycle cost savings is a net present value (NPV) of $0.52/ft2 in climate zone 14, followed by $0.32/ft2 in climate zone 16 and $0.19/ft2 in climate zone 12. At the medium design occupancy of 15 people per 1000 ft2, the DCV savings are higher with a NPV $0.93/ft2 in climate zone 14, followed by $0.55/ft2 in climate zone 16, $0.46/ft2 in climate zone 12, $0.30/ft2 in climate zone 3, $0.16/ft2 in climate zone 3. At the high design occupancy of 20 people per 1000 ft2, the DCV savings are even higher with a NPV $1.37/ft2 in climate zone 14, followed by $0.86/ft2 in climate zone 16, $0.84/ft2 in climate zone 3, $0.82/ft2 in climate zone 12, and $0.65/ft2 in climate zone 6.
DCV was not found to be cost effective if the typical minimum ventilation rate without DCV is 28 cfm per occupant, except at high design occupancy of 20 people per 1000 ft2 in climate zones 14 and 16.
Until the large uncertainties about the base case ventilation rates in offices without DCV are reduced, the case for requiring DCV in general office spaces will be a weak case.