In this paper, a zone based temperature monitoring and control system is presented to reduce Air Conditioning (A/C) usage in commercial buildings. Reducing Heating, Ventilation and Air-Conditioning (HVAC) energy usage is a topic of immense interest as HVAC energy consumption represents up to 40% of energy usage in the US and worldwide. Our approach to reducing A/C usage is based on two unique features — extensive monitoring and zone based control. First, multiple temperature sensors are deployed in the building/room of interest to provide an improved temperature picture without the need for a system model. Second, a zone based control approach is developed which is based on flexible definition of zones and results in a generic scalable solution that can be applied to buildings of different sizes and configuration. Our control approach results in efficient A/C operation through extensive monitoring and localized control. In addition, the approach provides redundancy to isolate unforeseen issues such as communication issues to the particular zones. The proposed monitoring and control approach is deployed in telecom base stations and retail stores to highlight the generic nature and scalability of the approach. The energy saving potential and secondary benefits such as flexible localized operation of our unique zone-based control is highlighted in the results. Though the savings vary from 15% to 35% depending on the local conditions and the buildings under consideration our approach is shown to reduce A/C usage in all cases.

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