Model-based data center cooling controls comparative co-design

Publication Type

Journal Article

Date Published





This article presents a comparative simulation-based control logic design process. It uses the Control Description Language (CDL) and the ASHRAE Guideline 36 high-performing building control sequences with the Modelica Buildings Library (MBL) to demonstrate a comparative analysis of two control designs for a data center chilled water plant. Details include a description of the closed-loop plant and control design methodology, including sizing and parameterization, base and alternative (Guideline 36) control logic with software implementation structure, and outline of the simulation experimentation process. The selected control designs are paired with comparable chilled water plant configurations. The models include a chiller, a water-side economizer, and an evaporative cooling tower. The plant provides cooling at 27ºC zone supply air temperature to a data center in Sacramento, CA. The comparative simulation results examined the impacts of a selected control logic detail, and present an example model-based design application. Overall, the simulation results showed a 25% annual and a 18% summer energy use reduction for alternative controls. This shows that simulation-based control logic design performance evaluation can improve energy efficiency and resilience aspects of system controls at large.


Science and Technology for the Built Environment

Year of Publication






An open-access version of this article was published in Science and Technology for the Built Environment and can be downloaded here


Research Areas

Related Files