Paper Conference

Proceedings of BSA Conference 2019: Fourth Conference of IBPSA-Italy


Evaluation of energy flexibility from residential district cooling

Alice Mugnini, Fabio Polonara, Alessia Arteconi

Abstract: Space cooling represents one of the fastest growing energy demands in buildings. Without any action to increase energy efficiency, this trend will be confirmed in the next decades, contributing significantly to the peak electricity demand growth. The need to increase both the energy efficiency and flexibility of the air conditioning (AC) sector is so urgent because of the strong penetration of renewable energy sources (RES) in the electricity generation mix. District cooling (DC) systems are recognised as one of the best solutions to reach this goal. As the DC energy efficiency benefits are not questioned, the objective of this paper is to provide a qualitative evaluation of the potential of DC networks in terms of energy flexibility. By modelling a small residential neighbourhood to be satisfied with a given cooling power availability, the effect of the different DC thermal inertia levels (e.g. the pipelines network, the buildings envelope and a dedicated thermal energy storage device) is investigated by means of two qualitative flexibility indicators (the wasted cold energy and the overheating time). The analysis shows that a great potential of energy flexibility is contained in DC systems. In particular, a great thermal demand management potential can be obtained when the buildings envelope thermal inertia is activated properly.
Pages: 15 - 22