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Energy and Cost Comparison of Building Cooling Systems

9 pagesPublished: May 15, 2022


Cooling a building can be approached with several different methods, but determining which method to pursue can be a matter of operator preference. This study examines four equipment systems of building cooling (Variable Refrigerant Flow, Rooftop Units, Hydronic Chiller, and Split Systems) and their capacities, abilities, and inabilities. These systems are then compared against one another for efficiency and operating cost in a one-year timeframe. Yearly operating cost, energy usage, and system operating time were analyzed from each unit’s performance and then compared against one another. The efficiencies, energy usage, and cost are compared to find the most efficient and cost-effective system for various owner needs and applications. Depending on the performance of the individual systems, it may be more suited to a specific application. Variable Refrigerant Flow was the most efficient due to its method of heat rejection and higher efficiency components. The chiller was also an efficient option, with the heat rejection through water being an efficient method. Rooftop units and split systems were less efficient but lowered initial capital cost. Overall, capital cost and operating expense priority determine the best method for an individual application.

Keyphrases: Building Cooling Systems, cooling, cost, efficiency, Energy, HVAC

In: Tom Leathem, Wesley Collins and Anthony J. Perrenoud (editors). ASC2022. 58th Annual Associated Schools of Construction International Conference, vol 3, pages 731--739

BibTeX entry
  author    = {Sanjeev Adhikari and Parker Gordy},
  title     = {Energy and Cost Comparison of Building Cooling Systems},
  booktitle = {ASC2022. 58th Annual Associated Schools of Construction International Conference},
  editor    = {Tom Leathem and Wes Collins and Anthony Perrenoud},
  series    = {EPiC Series in Built Environment},
  volume    = {3},
  pages     = {731--739},
  year      = {2022},
  publisher = {EasyChair},
  bibsource = {EasyChair,},
  issn      = {2632-881X},
  url       = {},
  doi       = {10.29007/2rbn}}
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