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Cost Effective Retrofit Technology for Reducing Peak Power Demand in Small and Medium Commercial Buildings

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Science and Technology for the Built Environment
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We describe a cost-effective retrofit technology that uses collective control of multiple rooftop air conditioning units to reduce the peak power consumption of small and medium commercial buildings. The proposed control uses a model of the building and air conditioning units to select an operating schedule for the air conditioning units that maintains a temperature set point subject to a constraint on the number of units that may operate simultaneously. A prototype of this new control system was built and deployed in a large gymnasium to coordinate four rooftop air conditioning units. Based on data collected while operating this prototype, we estimate that the cost savings achieved by reducing peak power consumption is sufficient to repay the cost of the prototype within a year.