The effectiveness of energy recovery ventilators (ERV) for air conditioning systems in multi-purpose halls in North Queensland

Morgan, Gene (2019) The effectiveness of energy recovery ventilators (ERV) for air conditioning systems in multi-purpose halls in North Queensland. [USQ Project]

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Energy costs for buildings have increased rapidly in recent history and it is expected that the rise will continue over time. Heating Ventilation and Cooling (HVAC) contributes to approximately 40% of a buildings total energy consumption (Department of the Environment and Energy 2013). Culminating with this is the increasing number of hot days being recorded which is further increasing our reliance on air conditioning. The need for energy efficient air conditioning systems is imperative to reduce energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions.

Introducing outdoor air into a building is a requirement under Australian Standards. Outdoor air is typically introduced through the air conditioning system serving the building. When large quantities of outside air are required, this can have significant effects on the heat load of a building and dramatically increase the size of the air conditioning system serving the building. When ambient air conditions are of high temperature and high humidity, typical of tropical climates like North Queensland, this further exacerbates the issue. An energy recovery ventilator (ERV) is a device which pre-treats introduced outside air through an energy transfer process in which the air is cooled and dehumidified by exhaust air being removed from inside the building. The ERV supplies the pre-cooled air to an air conditioning unit, which reduces the required cooling capacity of the system, the plant size and energy costs.

The aims of this dissertation were to analyse and compare the effectiveness of energy recovery ventilators for air conditioning systems in the North Queensland region from a performance and cost standpoint. The performance was evaluated in respect to grand total heat of a system (kW) and total energy consumption. The cost was assessed in terms of capital cost, operating cost and life cycle cost.

A minimum BCA/NCC Section J compliant multi-purpose hall building was developed and used as the reference building. The methodology inherited a comparative approach where two air conditioning systems were modelled and designed; one with and without an energy recovery ventilator. A heat load simulation was undertaken on the building using the CAMEL software. Both air-conditioning systems were then designed and documented using industry design guidelines. The effectiveness was comparatively evaluated by undertaking a building energy analysis and cost analysis of each system.

It was found that whilst the ERV had a significantly higher initial cost, the ERV option sees a 27% reduction in Grand Total Heat. The ERV option reduces annual energy consumption by 8%. The cost comparison yielded a payback period of between 6 – 7 years when implementing an ERV and the non-ERV option incurs an additional $369,101 cost over the 25-year life cycle of the systems.

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Item Type: USQ Project
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering (1 Jul 2013 - 31 Dec 2021)
Supervisors: Wandel, Andrew
Qualification: Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Mechanical)
Date Deposited: 16 Aug 2021 04:17
Last Modified: 26 Jun 2023 22:56

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