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Understanding Flow of Energy in Buildings Using Modal Analysis Methodology

[+] Author Affiliations
John Gardner, Kevin Heglund

Boise State University, Boise, ID

Kevin Van Den Wymelenberg

University of Idaho, Boise, ID

Craig Rieger

Idaho National Laboratory, Idaho Falls, ID

Paper No. ES2013-18390, pp. V001T09A005; 10 pages
  • ASME 2013 7th International Conference on Energy Sustainability collocated with the ASME 2013 Heat Transfer Summer Conference and the ASME 2013 11th International Conference on Fuel Cell Science, Engineering and Technology
  • ASME 2013 7th International Conference on Energy Sustainability
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, July 14–19, 2013
  • Conference Sponsors: Advanced Energy Systems Division, Solar Energy Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5551-5
  • Copyright © 2013 by ASME


It is widely understood that energy storage is the key to integrating variable generators into the grid. It has been proposed that the thermal mass of buildings could be used as a distributed energy storage solution and several researchers are making headway in this problem. However, the inability to easily determine the magnitude of the building’s effective thermal mass, and how the heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system exchanges thermal energy with it, is a significant challenge to designing systems which utilize this storage mechanism. In this paper we adapt modal analysis methods used in mechanical structures to identify the primary modes of energy transfer among thermal masses in a building. The paper describes the technique using data from an idealized building model. The approach is successfully applied to actual temperature data from a commercial building in downtown Boise, Idaho.

Copyright © 2013 by ASME



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