A review was undertaken of the 3 storey Central Queensland University Engineering block, situated in the subtropical city of Rockhampton, where maximum temperatures in the region have been recorded in the high 40’s. Because of it’s remote geographical location, and long hot seasons, optimal performance of the building’s HVAC system in crucial to the thermal comfort and health of the building’s occupants.
A detailed analysis was performed of the building’s HVAC system and installation/maintenance records to accurately perform CFD modelling & analysis. An energy audit determined that approximately 65% of total energy used per year was consumed by the HVAC system alone, leaving a huge potential for energy savings. Further analysis was performed to develop strategies to improve the building’s existing thermal energy management and develop improved energy conservation measures (ECM) to incorporate into the building’s energy management system (BMS), without compromising the indoor comfort of the occupants.
Various known issues were identified with the building’s ageing HVAC system, and building thermal comfort. Key observations based on conversations with the building’s management and everyday occupants included:
The ideal thermal comfort for the region was defined based on ASHRAE 55 standards, and through conversations with the building’s occupants to determine their needs, to ensure least 80% of occupants were satisfied with the working environment. Additional recommendations were made to allow office occupants to control their thermal comfort within their thermal zones.
The existing building CFD results can be found below, before any optimisation was performed.