The Idea Incubator/Smart HVAC Systems

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An array of indoor and outdoor air quality sensors and air flow sensors could be used to control the operation of a smart heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system. The system would include distributed or centralized heating, air conditioning, air handling, humidification, dehumidification, and air exchange components. The system would be designed to optimize indoor air quality at minimum cost.

For example, during the cooling season, if the outdoor air temperature was below the indoor air temperature, then the system would use the air exchanger rather than the air conditioner to cool the indoor air. This decision would be contingent on favorable outdoor air quality conditions, such as particulate matter and humidity levels. In another example, if indoor air pollution levels, such as carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, or volatile organic compound (VOC) concentrations are high, the air exchanger could be used to introduce additional fresh air indoors.

A home energy monitor could be used to measure the energy consumption of each HVAC system component. This information could be used to choose the most energy efficient option for achieving the desired indoor air quality conditions. In addition, efficiency and predictive maintenance information could be gathered, such as Kilowatt-hours per degree day to monitor system efficiency and maintenance condition.