Software and scheduling combine to improve HVAC efficiency at Penn State

Matthew Long
May 21, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Heating, ventilation and air conditioning technology (HVAC) makes indoor spaces more comfortable, but is often used at times when spaces in buildings are unoccupied. Penn State has been using and testing a piece of software called Events2HVAC to save energy, reduce the University's carbon footprint, and extend equipment life. 

The software's function is to set the HVAC controls according to a building’s room schedule so that rooms are only heated and cooled when in use. Clayton Powers and Kevin Lynch of the Office of the Physical Plant at University Park make up the project team in charge of implementing the software. They discovered Events2HVAC in October 2017 and decided to use this program as a means to make HVAC systems more efficient. "Most of the classrooms and conference rooms on campus have occupancy sensors in them, however they are reactive, not proactive. With Events2HVAC we are able to schedule lead in time to get spaces to temperature prior to occupants entering the space," explained Powers.

So far, the project team has seen successful results from this program. Overall, Lynch and Powers found a 60 percent reduction in equipment runtime after comparing before and after runtimes across 300 rooms. Some rooms have reduced runtimes of HVAC equipment by 80 percent, "a significant runtime energy savings on the equipment," according to Powers. 

The software went live in February 2018 and was initially tested in 42 rooms. Now, the program is being used in 475 spaces across University Park, with a goal to use the program in approximately 1,800 spaces around campus.

Powers and Lynch are currently preparing to work with other Penn State Commonwealth campuses to expand this program in the near future. “The program has been running almost flawlessly for a year and do not see any issues with expanding," noted Lynch. 

Last Updated May 28, 2019