Cascaded Control for Building HVAC Systems in Practice Academic Article uri icon


  • Actuator hunting is a widespread and often neglected problem in the HVAC field. Hunting is typically characterized by sustained or intermittent oscillations, and can result in decreased efficiency, increased actuator wear, and poor setpoint tracking. Cascaded control loops have been shown to effectively linearize system dynamics and reduce the prevalence of hunting. This paper details the implementation of cascaded control architectures for Air Handling Unit chilled water valves at three university campus buildings. A framework for implementation the control in existing Building Automation software is developed that requires only a single line of additional code. Results gathered for more than a year show that cascaded control not only eliminates hunting in control loops with documented hunting issues, but provides better tracking and more consistent performance during all seasons. A discussion of efficiency losses due to hunting behavior is presented and illustrated with comparative data. Furthermore, an analysis of cost savings from implementing cascaded chilled water valve control is presented. Field tests show 2.24.4% energy savings, with additional potential savings from reduced operational costs (i.e., maintenance and controller retuning).

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Price, C., Park, D., & Rasmussen, B. P.

citation count

  • 1

complete list of authors

  • Price, Chris||Park, Deokgeun||Rasmussen, Bryan P

publication date

  • January 2022