Energy Management in Buildings

This report is the result of a minor field study (MFS) performed in the Dominican Republic. The country strongly relies on energy sources from adjacent countries, currently the nation depends on fossil fuel for 86 % of its electricity generation and in 2011, 8.6 % of its GDP was spent on fossil fuel imports.

Since the country has a growing middle-class the demand for energy is increasing intensively and makes the necessity of a transition to a more sustainable energy system crucial for future growth. This project mainly focuses on the energy use in buildings and to analyze the situation, Emilio Rodríguez Demorizi library at Instituto Tecnológico de Santo Domingo was taken as case study.

In order to evaluate the current situation an energy audit was performed, for simulations RETScreen was used, an energy management tool that enables modeling of a buildings energy use. The program allows the user to inspect the current consumption and demands and later propose a solution in order to make the investigated object more efficient.

Components such as, lighting, electric equipment, ventilation and climate system are taken into account. Also the behavioral needs of the occupants in the building have been analyzed. However, no technical solution will actually be implemented and the study will be restricted to the area of Santo Domingo.

The result of the study showed that more electricity was used in the afternoon compared to mornings and evenings. The biggest factor for this increase is due to the use of climate systems which accounts for 71% of the yearly electricity consumption. An improved case was suggested, where upgrades were made in climate systems and electrical equipment and simulations in RETScreen show that electricity use can be decreased by 56 % if the proposed case was to be implemented.

An investigation has been made on a proposed solar project, it would only cover 4% of the buildings annual electricity need in the current state and 10 % of the annual need in the proposed case, a conclusion has been made that at the moment the solar project would not be financially viable, considering the size of the investments that would be needed.

However, in the future when more advanced technology is affordable and available it might be worth bearing in mind. Furthermore, the behavioral needs of the occupants in the building substantially contribute to the energy utilization in the building, major reductions can be made if cooling which is the main factor for electricity consumption, was used only when and where needed.
Source: KTH
Authors: Liang, Victor | Monsalve, Paulo

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