Environmental benefits of sustainable chiller system under climate change

Fu Wing Yu, Kwok Tai Chan, Rachel Kam Yung Sit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Chiller systems are commonly used to provide cooling energy in commercial buildings but with considerable electricity and water consumption. This paper discusses the environmental benefits of a sustainable chiller system with full variable speed control under climate change. Hourly weather data of climate change scenarios in 2020, 2050 and 2080 were predicted by using the program CCWorldWeatherGen, based on a typical meteorological year weather file for Hong Kong. The building simulation program EnergyPlus was used to model a full variable speed chiller system and a conventional system operating for a reference office building. Simulation results show that the environmental performance of the sustainable system is superior to the conventional ones with annual electricity saving of 25.7-31.5%, water saving of 1.8-2.2% and carbon emissions reduction of 25.6-30.3% under the three climate change scenarios. The sustainable system would bring an improvement in the annual average coefficient of performance even under global warming. The significance of this study is to promote the use of full variable speed control in chiller systems and elaborate on techniques in designing and operating the systems with enhanced environmental performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-114
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Sustainable Building Technology and Urban Development
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014


  • building simulation
  • carbon emissions
  • chiller system
  • climate change


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