In-situ implementation and evaluation of an online robust pump speed control strategy for avoiding low delta-T syndrome in complex chilled water systems of high-rise buildings

Dian ce Gao, Shengwei Wang, Kui Shan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


The low delta-T syndrome is one of the major faults that affect the operation and energy performance of the chilled water systems in practice, particularly for the complex chilled water systems. Low delta-T syndrome refers to the situation where the measured mean temperature difference of the overall terminal air-handling units is much lower than the expected normal value. The conventional pump speed control strategies lack the ability to handle the low delta-T syndrome. This paper presents an online robust control strategy for practical applications to avoid the low delta-T syndrome for chilled water systems including complex systems. On top of the conventional control strategies, a temperature set-point reset scheme is developed aiming at providing the reliable temperature set-point for enhancing the operation reliability of chilled water pumps. In addition, a flow-limiting control scheme is employed to perform the function of actively eliminating the deficit flow in the bypass line by a feedback mechanism. This robust pump speed control strategy has been implemented and evaluated on a real complex chilled water system in a high-rise building. The site test results show that the temperature set-point given by the proposed strategy is reliable and the system temperature difference is significantly raised by eliminating the deficit flow problem. When compared to the conventional control strategies, 78% of the total chilled water pump energy was saved in the test period. The actual pump energy saving percentage could be 39% in a year after implementing the robust control strategy in the studied system.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)541-554
Number of pages14
JournalApplied Energy
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016


  • Building energy
  • Chilled water system
  • Low delta-T syndrome
  • Pump speed control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Energy(all)

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