HP-Flex: Next Generation Heat Pump Load Flexibility

Develop and test an open-source building energy management system, called HP-Flex, that controls heat pump (HP) settings in small/medium commercial (SMC) buildings to provide load flexibility (LF)—shape, shift, shed, and/or shimmy—while meeting

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Recipient

Berkeley, CA

Recipient Location

9th

Senate District

15th

Assembly District

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$1,313,000

Amount Spent

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Active

Project Status

Projects Updates/The Results

The project held a kick-off meeting in summer 2020. Subcontracts are being developed and the first stages of system design has begun.

The Issue

Small and medium-sized commercial buildings (SMCs) have a great potential for optimal load flexibility (LF) because the vast majority of these buildings in California have a similar space conditioning configuration that use multiple packaged heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) units with relatively simple controls. While a few approaches exist for optimal control of SMC HVAC for energy efficiency and simple demand response (DR), there is no control solution for this market segment that can reliably and at low cost deliver LF capability for optimal load shift, shed, shape, and shimmy, while maximizing occupant comfort.[br /]

Project Innovation

This project develops and tests an open-source building energy management system, called HP-Flex, that controls heat pump (HP) settings in SMC buildings to provide load flexibility (LF); shape, shift, shed, and/or shimmy; while meeting occupant needs and minimizing operating cost. The system includes new optimization software and equipment interfaces that together optimize HP operation, while being extensible to manage additional equipment such as refrigeration, water heaters, electrochemical and thermal storage. HP-Flex's standardized, modular design aims to make it easier to configure than existing systems, thus enabling a more cost-effective and reliable control for SMC applications.

Project Benefits

This project hopes to remove barriers to the widespread adoption of this newly developed HP-Flex system by using experience from this project's field tests to develop educational curricula to train future engineers and technicians who will design, install, and maintain these systems. Industry partners who participate in the TAC will help disseminate findings and may adopt the resulting software (HP-Flex). The HP-Flex package supports the emerging business model of optimization as a service; which lowers the barriers to entry by providing energy management on a subscription basis. The findings from the long-term site demonstration will improve understanding of LF capabilities of HPs, along with impacts on grid and building end users, which will inform the development of a guidebook for future installations.

Lower Costs

Lower Costs

HP-Flex offers greater benefits to building owners and the grid by allowing the integration of several types of building equipment (e.g., HP space conditioning, HP water heaters, thermal storage), unlocking the flexibility in heat pump loads, optimizing equipment operation, and lowering deployment costs in real buildings. Estimated reduced peak cost of 20% annually and a simple payback period of less than 2 years.

Greater Reliability

Greater Reliability

Estimated peak demand reduction of approximately 25% and GHG reduction of approximately 40% for the SMC sector, assuming a operating schedule from 7am to 7pm and reduction in nighttime load.

Key Project Members

Project Member

Rich Brown

Research Scientist

Subrecipients

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Quantum Energy Services &amp

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Technologies, Inc. (DBA: QuEST)

MelRok, LLC

MelRok, LLC

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Humboldt State University

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