AbstractCharacterizing the thermal inertia of commercial buildings is of great importance in quantifying demand flexibility. Experimental tests can be used to investigate the thermal inertia of commercial buildings. However, existing studies tend to be qualitative and have limited scope. In this study, a comprehensive field test has been performed to assess the thermal inertia of commercial buildings. In this field test, six buildings are selected with different sizes, vintages, and types of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems to represent the majority of the U.S. commercial building stock. We quantify the thermal inertia with building operation data collected under various thermostat excitation signals. We then studied the relationship between thermal inertia and intrinsic properties, such as floor area, HVAC system, etc., as well as the operation condition indicators such as outdoor air temperature, zone temperature, and occupancy. The testing results indicate that the median values of the normalized charge response time and the normalized discharge response time of the five buildings are 1~5 hr/ C and -5~-1 hr/ C, respectively. The results also show that the thermal inertia of commercial buildings may be sensitive to the HVAC system type but not the floor area or location of zones, i.e., core vs. perimeter. Furthermore, our results suggest that the relationships between the charging/discharging normalized response time and the zone/outdoor temperature may vary among zones and be highly nonlinear.
Published: November 10, 2021