End-Use Savings Shapes Measure Documentation: Variable Refrigerant Flow with Heat Recovery and Dedicated Outdoor Air System

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


Building on the successfully completed effort to calibrate and validate the U.S. Department of Energy's ResStock™ and ComStock™ models over the past 3 years, the objective of this work is to produce national data sets that empower analysts working for federal, state, utility, city, and manufacturer stakeholders to answer a broad range of analysis questions. The goal of this work is to develop energy efficiency, electrification, and demand flexibility end-use load shapes (electricity, gas, propane, or fuel oil) that cover a majority of the high-impact, market-ready (or nearly market-ready) measures. "Measures" refers to energy efficiency variables that can be applied to buildings during modeling. An end-use savings shape is the difference in energy consumption between a baseline building and a building with an energy efficiency, electrification, or demand flexibility measure applied. It results in a time-series profile that is broken down by end use and fuel (electricity or on-site gas, propane, or fuel oil use) at each time step. ComStock is a highly granular, bottom-up model that uses multiple data sources, statistical sampling methods, and advanced building energy simulations to estimate the annual subhourly energy consumption of the commercial building stock across the United States. The baseline model intends to represent the U.S. commercial building stock as it existed in 2018. The methodology and results of the baseline model are discussed in the final technical report of the End-Use Load Profiles project. This documentation focuses on a single heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) end-use savings shape measure - a variable refrigerant flow with heat recovery (VRF HR) heating and cooling system coupled with a dedicated outdoor air system (DOAS) for ventilation. This measure replaces existing multi-zone variable air volume (VAV) systems or single-zone rooftop units (RTU) with a VRF HR system coupled with a DOAS that includes an energy/heat recovery ventilator (E/HRV). The measure covers 53% of exisiting building stock's floor area and is not applicable to HVAC system types using district heating or cooling or buildings/spaces that include high-ventilation spaces such as kitchens where the amount of exhaust air is large. A DOAS with E/HRV is used to provide required outdoor ventilation air to spaces since ventilation air is generally not supplied by a VRF HR system. An exhaust air energy recovery ventilator (ERV ) with sensible and latent heat exchange is added to humid climate zones while a heat recovery ventilator (HRV ) with sensible only exchange is added to drier climate zones. The ERV is modeled as a fixed membrane plate counterflow heat exchanger, while the HRV is modeled as a sensible-only fixed aluminum plate counterflow heat exchanger. Both systems include a bypass (for temperature control and economizer lockout) and minimum exhaust temperature control for frost prevention.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages60
StatePublished - 2023

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-5500-86103


  • building stock modeling
  • buildings
  • DOAS
  • electricity demand
  • energy models
  • load profiles
  • VRF


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