An In-Depth Analysis of Space Heating Energy Use in Office Buildings
Space heating represents the largest end use in the U.S. buildings and consumes more than 7 trillion Joules of site energy annually [USDOE]. Analyzing building space heating performance and identifying methods for saving energy are quite important. Hence, it is crucial to identify and evaluate key driving factors to space heating energy use to support the design and operation of low energy buildings.
In this study, the prototypical small and large-size office buildings of the USDOE commercial reference buildings, which comply with ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2004, are selected. Key design and operation factors were identified to evaluate their degrees of impact for space heating energy use. Simulation results demonstrate that some of the selected building design and operation parameters have more significant impacts on space heating energy use than others, on the other hand, good operation practice can save more space heating energy than raising design efficiency levels of an office building. Influence of weather data used in simulations on space heating energy is found to be significant. The simulated space heating energy use is further benchmarked against those from similar office buildings in two U.S. commercial buildings databases to better understand the discrepancies.
Simulated results from this study and space heating energy use collected from building databases can both vary in two potentially well overlapped wide ranges depending on details of building design and operation, not necessarily that simulation always under-predicts the reality.