Space cooling of buildings shows an increasing trend in energy use worldwide. The exploitation of the energy flexibility reserve obtainable from buildings cooling-loads management can have an important role to improve the security and the reliability of the electricity power grid. Many studies in literature assess the energy flexibility potential of air conditioning systems; however, the role of the specific cooling technology is always scarcely explored. The objective of this work is to provide an evaluation of the operational energy flexibility that can be obtained involving the most common residential space cooling technologies, paying particular attention to the distribution system (e.g., all-air system, fan-coil units with and without the addition of a thermal energy storage and hydronic massive systems). The analysis is carried out with dynamic simulation models for the various cooling systems involved. Results show a great influence of the adopted distribution system in the implementation of a flexibility request. In particular, all-air systems (i.e. split systems) show the lower flexible behavior (they require up to 10 h of precooling to be off during a peak hour). Whereas the adoption of fan coil units coupled with a thermal energy storage allows to implement different peak shaving strategies without compromising the indoor air temperature with low drawback effects in terms of anticipated electricity overconsumptions (no precooling of the air is required and a maximum of 23 % increase in electricity consumed in the time before the event occurs, with a reduction of 16 % in subsequent hours). In case of ceiling cooling systems, results highlight that as the thermal inertia of the system increases, the indoor conditions are less affected, but the anticipated overconsumption of the heat pump increases (for the same Demand Response event the electricity overconsumption goes from + 67 % to +116 %, passing from ceiling panels to concrete ceiling). The results obtained from this analysis are then used to draw flexibility curves, which aim at providing a characterization of the flexibility of a cooling system. They can be used to predict, for typical installations, the system behavior in presence of a peak power reduction strategy in terms of pre-cooling duration, energy use variation and modification of the temperature comfort bandwidth. Such predictions are important because they can provide insights on the design and operation of space cooling systems in demand side management strategies.
Energy flexibility curves to characterize the residential space cooling sector: The role of cooling technology and emission system / Mugnini, A.; Polonara, F.; Arteconi, A.. - In: ENERGY AND BUILDINGS. - ISSN 0378-7788. - 253:(2021), p. 111335. [10.1016/j.enbuild.2021.111335]