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Model predictive control for active insulation in building envelopes...

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Applied Energy
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Active insulation systems (AISs) refer to building envelopes with insulation materials that can change their thermal conductivity and are coupled with thermal mass to reduce building energy consumption and peak power. In this research, a novel optimal control approach is proposed to evaluate the maximum theoretical energy and cost-saving potential of AISs. A time-varying model predictive control (TV-MPC) controller was used to optimally select the AIS mode and simultaneously determine the operation of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system so that the maximum saving potential of the entire system can be realized. To comprehensively evaluate the power shifting flexibility of AISs, two optimization objectives—minimizing weekly electric energy consumption and minimizing weekly electricity cost—were considered. The summer season simulation results show that under the first objective, more than 50% electric and thermal energy was saved when the upper boundary of the indoor air temperature was set to 25 °C. Under the second optimization objective, 38% of the cost was saved. It can be expected that the developed approach can be easily applied to multiple types of AISs with different mechanisms.