Modeling of Air handling Unit for Wireless Monitoring

EPA Grant Number: SU835693
Title: Modeling of Air handling Unit for Wireless Monitoring
Investigators: Razban, Ali
Current Investigators: Razban, Ali , Amini, Amin , Edalatnoor, Arash , Li, Jing
Institution: Indiana University , Purdue University
Current Institution: Indiana University - Purdue University - Indianapolis
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Phase: I
Project Period: August 15, 2014 through August 14, 2015
Project Amount: $14,941
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2014) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Challenge Area - Built Environment , P3 Challenge Area - Energy , P3 Awards , Sustainability


The main goal of this project is to achieve a reduction in energy consumption through air handling unit (AHU) system performance improvement while also considering occupant comfort level. The objectives are to: 1) identify the key parameters of the AHU that can be efficiently, accurately, and thoroughly enhanced in a building’s energy assessment; 2) develop the wireless energy performance and consumption monitoring system (WEPCMS); and 3) improve energy efficiency with reference to ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2010, Energy Standard for Buildings.


The project will be conducted by students under faculty supervision (PI) of the IUPUI Industrial Assessment Center (IAC). The project will consist of two phases. Phase I: The wireless monitoring system, which will enable remote, real-time, sub-system monitoring, will be created at IUPUI. Phase II: The selected air handling unit (AHU) will be continuously monitored in real-time; the data will be analyzed using the algorithms developed for the system. The process model of the AHU will be developed and the major parameters will be monitored and display remotely. Best-practices will be recommended based on the collected data.

Phase I: Development of the WEPCMS
The WESPCMS will operate at three levels. The top level resides in a control room equipped with computer and smart controller. The middle level will be in the building where the sub-system is located. It has a wireless mesh network that consists of a PAN coordinator and at least one Router Repeater. The third level will be at the sub-system, consisting of various sensors for measuring key data characterizing system performance and energy consumption. Many third party devices have already been qualified to work with the wireless system for digital data transmission.

The system has the sensors to collect performance data. The data will be sent wirelessly to the PAN coordinator directly or through a Router Repeater. The data will be further pushed to the smart controller via Ethernet and be stored in the computer. The sub-system can also be monitored real-time using IP cameras. Actions can be taken through the system to remotely control the sub-system if needed. The data from these sensors will be analyzed for performance evaluation and energy consumption. Algorithms will be developed specifically for analyzing sub-system data. Software will be written for implementing the algorithms, tabulating the results, and displaying them on a dashboard. This project requires both hardware and software development.

Phase II: Implement WESPCMS on an Air Handling Unit
We have identified a sub-system and an Air Handling Unit (AHU) in Science and Engineering building as the system for this pilot project. This AHU is a large energy consumption unit and has been in service for 23 years. The performance of the unit has never been evaluated. This phase will be completed in the following steps.

Step 1: Establish the energy consumption and performance baselines
Step 2: Development of a model to link the system performance to the energy consumption
Step 3: Develop control strategies and simulate the performance virtually (this part will be covered in the second phase of project)

Expected Results:

The expected outcomes will be: 1) identification of the key parameters of AHU performance that impact a building’s energy consumption; and 2) modeling the energy consumption process and develop a control algorithm strategy for energy improvement. The result will be the air handing unit with identification of dominates parameters. The system will have continuous data collection for further evaluation. An optimized control strategy can be developed during second phase of the grant after successful completion of this project.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 1 publications for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

Energy Conservation, monitoring data, HVAC system, air handling unit (AHU), energy saving, efficiency improvement

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report