Building systems constitute a significant portion of the overall energy consumed each year in the U.S., and a large portion of this energy is used by air-conditioning systems. Therefore, the efficiency of these systems is important. This paper presents a method to increase system efficiency using an alternative system architecture for vapor compression systems. This architecture creates an additional degree of freedom which allows for independent control of condenser subcooling. It is found that there exists a non-zero subcooling that maximizes system efficiency; however, this optimal subcooling can change with different operating conditions. Thus, extremum seeking control is applied to find and track the optimal subcooling using only limited information of the system. In a simulation case study, a 10% reduction in energy consumption is reported when using the alternative system architecture and extremum seeking control when compared to a conventional system configuration.

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