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Using Uncertainty and Sensitivity Analysis to Inform the Design of a Net-Zero Energy Vaccine Warehouse

The vaccine cold chain is an integral part of the process of storing and distributing vaccines prior to administration. A key component of this cold chain for developing countries is the primary vaccine storage warehouse. As the starting point for the distribution of vaccines throughout the country, these buildings have a significant amount of refrigerated space and therefore consume large amounts of energy.

Therefore, this thesis focuses on analyzing the relative importance of parameters for the design of an energy efficient primary vaccine storage warehouse with the end goal of achieving Net-Zero Energy operation.

A total of 31 architectural design parameters, such as roof insulation U-Value and external wall thermal mass, along with 14 building control parameters, including evaporator coil defrost termination and thermostat set points, are examined. The analysis is conducted across five locations in the developing world with significant variations in climate conditions: Buenos Aires, Argentina; Tunis, Tunisia; Asuncion, Paraguay; Mombasa, Kenya; and Bangkok, Thailand.

Variations in the parameters are examined through the implementation of a Monte Carlo-based global uncertainty and sensitivity analysis to a case study building layout. A regression-based sensitivity analysis is used to analyze both the main effects of each parameter as well as the interactions between parameter pairs. The results of this research indicate that for all climates examined, the building control parameters have a larger relative importance than the architectural design parameters in determining the warehouse energy consumption.

This is due to the dominance of the most influential building control parameter examined, the Chilled Storage evaporator fan control strategy. The importance of building control parameters across all climates examined emphasizes the need for an integrated design method to ensure the delivery of an energy efficient primary vaccine warehouse.

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