Purdue University Graduate School
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Laboratory Load-Based Testing, Performance Mapping and Rating of Residential Cooling Equipment

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posted on 2020-12-16, 13:41 authored by Li ChengLi Cheng
In the U.S., unitary residential air conditioners are rated using standard AHRI 210/240 that is inadequate to credit equipment with advanced controls and variable-speed components since the ratings are based on results of steady-state laboratory tests. Contrarily, a load-based testing and rating approach is presented in this work that can capture equipment performance with its integrated controls and thermostat responses that is more representative of the field. In this approach, representative building sensible and latent loads are emulated in a psychrometric test facility at different indoor and outdoor test conditions utilizing a virtual building model. The indoor test room conditions are continuously adjusted to emulate the dynamic response of the virtual building to the test equipment sensible and latent cooling rates and the equipment dynamic response is measured. Meanwhile, the inlet temperatures to the test equipment thermostat are independently controlled to track the same virtual building response using a thermostat environment emulator that encloses the test thermostat, that provides typical flow conditions and of which the design and control are presented in this work. Climate-specific cooling seasonal performance ratings can be determined by propagating load-based test results through a temperature-bin method to estimate a seasonal coefficient of performance (SCOP). In addition, a next-generation rating approach is developed that extends load-based testing for performance mapping, such that the SCOP can be obtained using building simulations that incorporate specific building types, climates and an equipment-specific performance map.
In this work, the proposed approaches were implemented to test and rate a variable-speed residential heat pump operating in cooling mode. Trained with results from only 12 load-based test intervals carried out using the test equipment, a quasi-steady-state mapping model was able to map the equipment performance across almost the entire operating envelope within $\pm10\%$ errors and the $R^2$ values were very close to 1. Using the identified performance map, the next-generation SCOP was obtained based on an annual simulation deployed in EnergyPlus, where the map was coupled to a typical single-family building in Albuquerque,NM. Compared to the temperature-bin-based rating, this simulation-based rating is able to comprehensively and appropriately reflect equipment annual field performance associated with a specific building type and climate, as the rating is extended from automated laboratory load-based testing and performance mapping.


Center for High Performance Building


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Mechanical Engineering

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

James E. Braun

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee co-chair

W. Travis Horton

Additional Committee Member 2

Eckhard A. Groll

Additional Committee Member 3

Neera Jain