Decision making for HVAC&R system selection for a typical office building in the UK
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Demands for thermal comfort, better indoor air quality together with lower environmental impacts have had ascending trends in the last decade. In many circumstances, these demands could not be fully covered through the soft approach of bioclimatic design like optimisation of the building orientation and internal layout. This is mostly because of the dense urban environment and building internal energy loads. In such cases, heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC&R) systems make a key role to fulfill the requirements of indoor environment. Therefore, it is required to select the most proper HVAC&R system. In this study, a robust decision making approach for HVAC&R system selection is proposed. Technical performance, economic aspect and environmental impacts of 36 permutations of primary and secondary systems are taken into account to choose the most proper HVAC&R system for a case study office building. The building is a representative for the dominant form of office buildings in the UK. Dynamic performance evaluation of HVAC&R alternatives using TRNSYS package together with life cycle energy cost analysis provides a reliable basis for decision making. Six scenarios broadly cover the decision makers' attitudes on HVAC&R system selection which are analysed through Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP). One of the significant outcomes reveals that, despite both the higher energy demand and more investment requirements associated with compound heating, cooling and power system (CCHP); this system is one of the top ranked alternatives due to the lower energy cost and C02 emissions. The sensitivity analysis reveals that in all six scenarios, the first five top ranked alternatives are not changed. Finally, the proposed approach and the results could be used by researchers and designers especially in the early stages of a design process in which all involved bodies face the lack of time, information and tools for evaluation of a variety of systems.