Mechanical Engineering ETDs

Publication Date

Fall 11-13-2023


Advanced control for heating ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems has primarily focused on optimizing energy efficiency. However, ensuring the safe and reliable operation of HVAC equipment is another crucial control objective. This Thesis presents a reference governor (RG) that can augment existing energy-optimized controllers with the capability to enforce constraints to ensure safe and reliable operation. The RG makes minimal adjustments to the reference room temperature setpoint to ensure that the refrigerant entering the compressor is super-heated, thereby preventing potential damage. Designing the RG requires synthesizing a constraint admissible positive invariant (CAPI) set which characterizes the subset of states for which the closed-loop system will satisfy the safety constraints. We employ an indirect data-driven method wherein we identify a control-oriented model and uncertainty bounds to synthesize a robust (CAPI) set. We validated the RG in a case study and we observed constraint satisfaction


Air conditioner, Constraint Enforcement, Nonlinear System, Reference Governor, Nonlinear Controls.

Degree Name

Mechanical Engineering

Level of Degree


Department Name

Mechanical Engineering

First Committee Member (Chair)

Dr. Claus Danielson

Second Committee Member

Dr. Peter Vorobieff

Third Committee Member

Dr. Meeko Oishi

Document Type




Available for download on Tuesday, December 16, 2025