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An Autonomous Controller for Ductless Mini-Split Heat Pumps, Residential Solar Thermal Collection, and Hydronic Floor Heating

[+] Author Affiliations
Andrew Cross, Rick Hurt, Robert F. Boehm

University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV

Kimberly Hammer

University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ

Paper No. ES2014-6316, pp. V002T10A002; 10 pages
  • ASME 2014 8th International Conference on Energy Sustainability collocated with the ASME 2014 12th International Conference on Fuel Cell Science, Engineering and Technology
  • Volume 2: Economic, Environmental, and Policy Aspects of Alternate Energy; Fuels and Infrastructure, Biofuels and Energy Storage; High Performance Buildings; Solar Buildings, Including Solar Climate Control/Heating/Cooling; Sustainable Cities and Communities, Including Transportation; Thermofluid Analysis of Energy Systems, Including Exergy and Thermoeconomics
  • Boston, Massachusetts, USA, June 30–July 2, 2014
  • Conference Sponsors: Advanced Energy Systems Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4587-5
  • Copyright © 2014 by ASME


A unique autonomous control system was developed to manage the HVAC components of a residence built specifically for an ultra-efficient home competition. Some of the home’s HVAC components that contribute to its ultra-efficiency (and necessitate such an autonomous controller) include multiple ductless mini-split heat pumps, multiple hydronic heated floor loops, multiple circulating ceiling fans, and a closed-loop solar thermal collection and storage system that not only provides hot water to the hydronic heated floors, but also supplies the home with domestic hot water.

The autonomous controller integrates all this equipment with a mixture of technology that includes power-line communications, both wired and wireless TCP/IP network signals, low-voltage wiring, and infrared signals. By utilizing these many different methods to communicate with equipment around the home, the controller is able to simultaneously regulate components and systems that are often considered “stand alone” or impractical to implement in residential buildings due to their need for constant manual operation. The result is an HVAC system that consumes very little energy while still providing an expected level of comfort.

Copyright © 2014 by ASME



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