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journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/buildenv

medium-sized commercial building: A case study

Junhua Zhuanga,c,∗, Yimin Chenb,c, Xiangguang Chena

a

School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Beijing Institute of Technology, Beijing, China

b

Department of Civil Architectural and Environmental Engineering, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA

c

School of Electrical and Information Engineering, Beijing University of Civil Engineering and Architecture, Beijing, China

A R T I C L E I N F O A B S T R A C T

Keywords: Model predictive control (MPC) methods for heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems have been

HVAC studied to improve the control accuracy and reduce energy consumption in recent years. The accuracy of the

Power spectral density model for building thermal dynamics in MPC plays a critical role to accurately control the system. The modeling

Model predictive control method also impacts on the real practice of MPC in buildings due to its cost and scalability. Studies have shown

Feedforward control structure

that an appropriate simpliﬁcation of modeling procedure has minor impacts on the model accuracy, but in-

creases the modeling eﬃciency. In this article, variables including weather conditions, occupancy and electricity

are divided into two categories: manipulated variables and random variables. A novel two-step modeling

strategy is proposed for simplifying modeling procedure and increasing model accuracy. Manipulated variables

are used in step response method to develop system model. A low order system is obtained after the model

simpliﬁcation by observing the response curve. Random variables are used in the power spectral density (PSD)

method for modeling. Transfer function is obtained through calculating the cross-power spectral density (CPSD)

of the system output and input, the PSD of the input, and the ratio of CPSD and PSD. A MPC strategy with

feedforward control structure is proposed to utilize the obtained dynamic characteristics of random variables

and eﬀectively compensate the errors caused by these variables. Field test in a medium-sized commercial

building is implemented to evaluate the MPC strategy. The result shows that a considerable amount of energy

saving is achieved through the proposed MPC.

diﬀerent control method for a building hybrid heating system, and

In China, buildings are responsible for 28% of the total energy proved that maximum cost reduction can be achieved while indoor

consumption [1]. In commercial buildings, heating, ventilation, and air temperature requirement can be met by implementing the MPC method

conditioning (HVAC) system accounts for more than 60% building with economical optimization [4]. Salakij et al., developed a MPC

electricity consumption to meet the demand of occupants' comfort. method to incorporate critical building information into control algo-

Therefore, a potential beneﬁt can be achieved and environmental im- rithms based on a lower order system model modiﬁed from coupled

pacts can be reduced through energy saving in building HVAC systems. system model [5,6]. Through simulation and experiment validation,

Compared to HVAC equipment update in existing buildings, the im- they demonstrated that the proposed MPC method yielded superior

provement of HVAC control strategies is considered as one of the eﬃ- control performance with lowest energy consumption while main-

cient and cost eﬀective ways to increase the building energy eﬃciency taining indoor thermal comfort.

[2]. Although there are extensive researches so far on the development

Although traditional control methods which include the propor- of MPC for increasing energy performance in buildings, there are only a

tional-integral-derivative (PID) control and the ON/OFF control are still few real practice examples have been reported from literature. Huang

the most commonly used control methods in most commercial build- et al., implemented MPC in an airport terminal building. The simulation

ings, these methods have drawbacks in that system level characteristics and ﬁeld experiment demonstrate that energy saving can be achieved

and multiple interactions among diﬀerent components are not con- without losing thermal comfort after using the proposed hybrid model

sidered. In recent years, MPC has witnessed a rapid development in the predictive control [7]. Ruano et al., introduced the implementation of

∗

Corresponding author. School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Beijing Institute of Technology, Beijing, China.

E-mail address: zhuangjh@bucea.edu.cn (J. Zhuang).

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.buildenv.2017.10.022

Received 2 July 2017; Received in revised form 27 September 2017; Accepted 16 October 2017

Available online 18 October 2017

0360-1323/ © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

J. Zhuang et al. Building and Environment 127 (2018) 1–12

an intelligent model based predictive control (IMBPC) system which state-space which results in great diﬃculties in practical application

consists of the software and hardware in a real university campus [43]. For the purpose of chiller plant control, it is not necessary to

building [8]. Through the experiment for almost one month, HVAC model all zones in the building. Moreover, the structures and para-

electrical saving can be reached and thermal comfort is also maintained meters of a RC model obtained from one building can hardly be em-

by using the IMBPC. ployed in other building. This makes the scalability of a RC model to be

MPC achieves higher control quality compared with PID or ON/OFF lower in the real practice [11]. Therefore, some simpliﬁed methods

control due to its three features including: predictive model, rolling have been proposed to cope with this issue. For example, Braun et al.,

optimization and feedback correction [9,10]. The procedure of mod- modeled a whole large sized building as a single zone instead of de-

eling is a critical prerequisite for a successful implementation of MPC in veloping a multi-zone RC model [25]. The result indicated that there

buildings [11], because a control process will react to the prediction of was a close match between the predicted cooling load and the actual

input changes or other disturbances [12]. Modeling can be divided into cooling load. Sourbron et al., also demonstrated that the second-order

physical-based modeling (or white box modeling) method and data- model can achieve equal control performance as the forth-order one

driven based modeling (or black box modeling) method. Recently, data- [20]. Richard et al. proved that it is feasible to simplify high order

driven modeling methods have been widely utilized to model HVAC systems to low order ones in engineering applications [12,27,28].

systems for their advantages on cost-eﬀectiveness and ﬂexibility [13]. The system parameters identiﬁcation (SPID) is another challenge

Artiﬁcial neural network (ANN) is one of widely employed data-driven after the determination of system structure. Various SPID methods have

method in building energy prediction (modeling) due to the ability to been proposed to optimize model parameters. O'Dwyer et al., developed

deal with nonlinear, multivariable modeling problems. Afram et al., a system identiﬁcation method from data in which signiﬁcant un-

gave a good review on artiﬁcial neural network (ANN) based MPC measured disturbances are present [29]. In this method, high-order

system design [14]. A dynamic temperature setpoints proﬁles of the simulation models for control strategy analysis and low-order zone

zone air and buﬀer tank can be generated through MPC to save oper- models for optimization were developed separately for MPC. Karlsson

ating cost. Huang et al., developed an ANN model-based system iden- et al., identiﬁed the parameters by using step-response method and

tiﬁcation method to model multi-zone buildings [15]. The model in- pulse-response method [22]. It is eﬀective to model the indoor tem-

cludes diﬀerent energy inputs to increase model accuracy for MPC. perature inﬂuenced by the supply heat ﬂux, since the supply heat ﬂux

Ferreira et al., proposed a discrete model-based control method which can be a step change or an approximate ideal impulse function. How-

include three components as predictive models based on ANN, the cost ever, these methods that are called experimental methods can only be

function aiming to minimize energy consumption and maintain thermal applied to variables that can be manipulated (e.g. the supply heat ﬂux,

comfort and a discrete branch and bound approach for optimization the supply chilled water temperature), and can't applied to random

[16]. ones (e.g. the outdoor temperature, the solar radiation). By using si-

As for physical-based method, it can provide detailed building in- mulation, Fraisse et al., studied the internal surface temperature re-

formation based on the analysis of building material features. So some sponse after a step change in external or internal temperature [30]. Yao

researchers proposed that rigorous model or physical model should be et al., also studied the dynamic response of air temperature in diﬀerent

implemented [17–19], but it is seldom employed in real engineering zones when subject to a step change of ambient temperature, occupant

practice for the high costs and expert involvement. Furthermore some number and etc. [31]. However, some weather variables such as out-

key parameters such as the heat transfer coeﬃcient and speciﬁc heat door temperature, solar radiation, cannot be step changed in real

capacity of building envelope cannot be easily obtained, especially in practice.

large size commercial buildings, and when there exists high couples Data-driven methods for model parameters identiﬁcation can be

among diﬀerent components in a system. Fortunately, some studies applied after system structures are determined (e.g. a simpliﬁed lower-

show that a simpliﬁed model can achieve acceptable accuracy in order models). These data-driven methods are better at handing

comparison to a detailed physical model for control [20–23]. Sourbron random variables such as weather prediction data. Various methods

et al., established a second-order model and a fourth-order model, including least squares method [32], regression method [33], Kalman

which included additional solar and internal gains in the identiﬁcation ﬁlter [23], ensemble Kalman ﬁlter [34], ARMAX model identiﬁcation

data set to improve performance as contrast to the second-order one, for and subspace identiﬁcation [35] have been employed to estimate the

concrete core activation (CCA) [20]. The result indicated that both model parameters. Models developed through random variables can be

second-order and forth-order model can achieve a satisfactory control obtained by these methods. Some research works treat manipulated

performance. Bălan et al., demonstrated a simple solution with a variables such as temperatures and ﬂow rates of supply chilled water, as

second-order model for thermal modeling of a house which included random variables [13]. For example, Li et al., pointed out that model

experimental identiﬁcation of the model's parameters. Based the model, accuracy and calculation eﬃcacy cannot be guaranteed through the

they successfully used a predictive control algorithm to control the model identiﬁcation methods which lack of active building excitation

thermal system in a house [21]. Karlsson et al., established a simpliﬁed [13]. This is because database data does not contain plenty of useful

two-node lumped model for a single room [22]. Prívara et al., identiﬁed information about systems, in other words, data rich and information

a real building model by using subspace methods and successfully ap- poor [36]. Fig. 1 shows a summary of models and parameter identiﬁ-

plied it into real control [23]. cation methods mentioned above.

Similar to these low-order models stated above, resistance and ca- Although a number of successful cases of modeling can be found,

pacitance (RC) network models or inverse models are widely used for some issues still need to be solved to apply MPC in the real practice.

building energy estimation [24,25]. RC network modeling possesses a These include:

meaningful and transparent conﬁguration, making the developed

model more understandable and reliable to use [7]. Since the models • Models inevitably have errors. The system control error cannot be

established by the RC method or some simpliﬁed methods are all linear eliminated successfully even with high-order models because it is

models, it is actually already using a priori knowledge – the system can diﬃcult to determine the model parameters.

be approximated as a linear system, when using these methods. As for • The presence of external uncertain disturbance such as weather

large sized buildings, state-space modeling approach based on RC prediction has signiﬁcant impacts on the control quality.

method can also be applied [26], although sometime this approach are

applied in a single zone building model for details [25]. In practice, a Concerning the above problems, this article aims to develop a

large sized building includes many zones, rather than two zones as in strategy of MPC with feedforward control structure, which has both the

Ref. [26]. Many zones will produce a high dimension matrix of the MPC feedback structure and the feedforward structure [37,38]. As

2

J. Zhuang et al. Building and Environment 127 (2018) 1–12

divided into two categories, one is manipulated variables, and the other

is uncontrollable variables, which are often random variables. The

purpose of control is to continuously adjust manipulated inputs to

overcome the inﬂuence of uncontrollable inputs, and make the output Fig. 2. The working ﬂow of this study.

has the desired dynamic characteristics. For irregular disturbances such

as measurement errors, this adjustment can only be made if it is re- manipulated variables, where the system model is the bypass valve

ﬂected to the detectable variables such as outputs, and therefore the control model. PSD method is applied to model the system under

feedback method must be used. However, for those random variables random variables that are outdoor temperature and solar radiation. In

(e.g. weather condition) that can be predicted, it is unreasonable if they applying the PSD method, some parameters may be adjusted to make

can be corrected by feedback as disturbances. The feedback control the model more matched with the real system. These models are ex-

only works when the error has impact on the output, which results in a pressed in the form of transfer functions, and then applied in a MPC

certain hysteresis. Furthermore, the feedback control does not take full method with feedforward control structure to the system. The whole

advantage of the known information of this part of the inputs. Thus, it is ﬂow of the study is shown in Fig. 2.

more reasonable to implement a feedforward control which can take

advantage of the known dynamic characteristics of this part of the in- 2.2. Building description

puts, and can eﬀectively compensate the errors caused by these inputs

[39]. The test building is a medium-sized commercial building of a

This paper is as follows: Section 2 introduces the workﬂow of this shopping mall in Sichuan province, China, located at 29°35′ north la-

study including building and HVAC description. The bypass valve titude, 103°43′ east longitude. The building has 31.4 m in height and

control model is presented in Section 3, which use step response 41,000 m2 with six-ﬂoor on the ground and two-ﬂoor basement. From

method for manipulated variables and PSD method for random vari- outside layer to inside layer, the exposed walls are all made of granite,

ables. Section 4 introduces the proposed MPC strategy with feedforward thermal insulation materials, gravel concrete, hollow brick, gravel

control structure. In Section 5, a case study is used to demonstrate the concrete, and wall tile or lime. The exposed windows are all double-

eﬀectiveness of the proposed modeling and control strategy. Conclusion glazing windows. Fig. 3 shows the external shape of the test building.

and a future research plan are given in Section 6. Fig. 4 shows the building view in Google SketchUp™, in which the di-

rection of the building can be clearly seen.

2. System description

2.3. HVAC system description

2.1. Description of working ﬂow

The chiller plant has three centrifugal chillers with variable speed

Various inputs, such as occupancy, electricity, outdoor temperature drivers for six ﬂoors above the ground and two screw chillers for two

etc., to the HVAC system have tremendous impacts on the system be- ﬂoors underground. In this study, only the six ﬂoors part above the

havior. Various inputs should be analyzed respectively due to their ground will be studied, and the part is served by 28 air handling units

diﬀerent roles and impacts. And they can be divided into some cate- (AHUs) and 22 fan coils (FCs). Each AHU has a controller that controls a

gories: constants, ignored variables, manipulated variables and random valve to change chilled water ﬂow according to return air temperature

variables. by using the PID control method. The return air temperature is set to

In this study, two types of variable are pre-deﬁned such that ma- 26 °C. Each FC controls chilled water ﬂow by using ON/OFF control

nipulated variables and random variables to develop a simpliﬁed con- method according to the zone temperature directly. This study does not

trol model. The step response method is used to model the system under focus on the control of zone temperatures, for the control performance

3

J. Zhuang et al. Building and Environment 127 (2018) 1–12

of AHUs and FCs, by and large, is perfect, which means that zone

temperatures are controlled at about 26 °C. Although, the ﬂow through

a single FC is at an ON/OFF status which can be simpliﬁed as a discrete

value, continuous value can also be obtained for the ﬂow through the

whole system due to the ﬂow through 28 AHUs, that is continuous

value, is much larger than 22 FCs and 22 FCs run at diﬀerent time. The

cooling rated capacity of each of the three centrifugal chillers is

2286 kW, and the consumption power of each is 437 kW. The chillers

are parallel connected. Every day, the HVAC system works from 9:20 to

21:00. Usually there are two chillers running in July and August, and

the rest of a chiller is for redundancy and maintenance in most time,

unless in the very hot weather. The plant is shown in Fig. 5. Primary

pump system is used for chiller plant which includes constant speed Fig. 5. The composition of the plant.

pumps. A bypass valve is used to balance the cooling capacity of the

plant to the internal cooling load. The bypass valve is adjusted ac-

cording to the chilled water diﬀerential pressure which is set at

0.12 MPa. The system was designed to be operated as 7 °C for the

supply chilled water and 5 °C for the temperature diﬀerence between

supply and return water.

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J. Zhuang et al. Building and Environment 127 (2018) 1–12

3. Modeling procedure constant, and was not an input variable. Such a simpliﬁcation does not

have much eﬀect on the control. Similarly, the electricity power density

3.1. Determination of model inputs and outputs is also an approximately constant (value is 30 W/m2), not a variable,

since the electricity power schedule is also relative ﬁxed.

Model input and output variable selection is crucial to the control

system. Variable selection must be consistent with the process re- 3.2. Transfer function

quirement. The accuracy of system identiﬁcation and model scalability

should also be considered. Most of researchers treat zone temperatures A single-input single-output linear system can be described by a

or required amount of cooling or heat as controlled variables that is transfer function G(s) as Eq. (1) [31].

system outputs.

Y (s ) L (y (t ))

This study focuses on how to generate and deliver cooling capacity G (s ) = =

more eﬃciently. There is no potential for energy conservation in the U (s ) L (u (t )) (1)

chilled water delivery on the whole because the chilled water pumps Where s is the complex frequency variable that can be represented as a

are constant speed pumps. So the goal of saving energy in the primary a + bj form, Y(S) and U(S) are the Laplace transforms of the output y(t)

cooling system becomes a goal to save chiller energy consumption. The and the input u(t), respectively, and L (•) denotes the Laplace transform.

load is determined by weather, occupant and electricity, the cooling The Laplace transform is a mathematical tool used to solve linear or-

water system is not adjusted in this study, and the chilled water ﬂow is dinary diﬀerential equations.

also approximately constant. In order to improve the eﬃciency of the A linear model has the properties of superposition and scalability,

chillers, there is only one way that is to increase the supply chilled which imply that the result of multiple inputs is the sum of their in-

water temperature. dividual eﬀects. In this study, the bypass valve control model includes

The indoor temperature Ti is inﬂuenced by heat gain from outdoor three inputs and one output, and their relationship can be described as

environment Q̇out , the solar radiation Q̇sol , the internal gains by occu- Eq. (2)

pancy and electricity Q̇int , and the cooling capacity from the chiller

plant Q̇cool , as shown in Fig. 6. Controllers serving the AHUs and FCs Y (s ) = Gsup (s ) Usup (s ) + Gout (s ) Uout (s ) + Gsol (s ) Usol (s ) (2)

control the chilled water ﬂow according to the indoor temperature, and

where Usup(s), Uout(s) and Usol(s) denote the supply chilled water tem-

then the bypass valve opening level is controlled by another controller

perature, outdoor temperature and solar radiation, respectively, Y(s) is

that serves the bypass valve for maintaining the chilled water diﬀer-

the system output – the bypass valve opening level, and Gsup(s), Gout(s),

ential pressure. These two types of controllers are considered to be

Gsol(s) are three transfer functions of one output corresponding to three

perfect in this study. Under the condition that the supply chilled water

inputs respectively. Eq. (2) can also be written in vector form as follows:

temperature remains approximately unchanged, the cooling capacity

changes in diﬀerent bypass valve opening level. A closed-loop control

⎡Usup (s ) ⎤

system is demonstrated in Fig. 6. Before the study in this paper was Y (s ) = [Gsup (s ) Gout (s ) Gsol (s )] ⎢ Uout (s ) ⎥ = G(s)U(s)

implemented, the bypass valve opening level was controlled to meet the ⎢ ⎥

building cooling load at a given supply chilled water temperature ⎣ Usol (s ) ⎦ (3)

(7 °C). But when the supply chilled water temperature increases to And the objective of modeling in this study is to ﬁnd the correct transfer

improve the chiller eﬃciency and save energy, the bypass valve functions.

opening level decreases correspondingly. The control objective is As mentioned above, two of the three inputs are random variables

therefore set to decrease the bypass valve opening level as small as that will be modeled by using PSD method, and the remaining one is

possible to meet the requirement of internal cooling load. So the bypass manipulated variable that will modeled by step response analysis

valve opening level is used as the model output in this study. method.

As for input variables, they can be divided into two categories. One

category is manipulated variable that is the supply chilled water tem- 3.3. Model order

perature in this study. Another category are random variables that af-

fect the load, such as occupancy, electricity, outdoor temperature, solar As mentioned above, the system is a three-inputs one-output system,

radiation, etc., which are treated as input variables during modeling, and the system model G(S) includes three transfer functions Gsup(s),

and are treated as interference in control. Ref.21 points out that too Gout(s) and Gsol(s) respectively. The order of each transfer function is

many inputs cannot improve the accuracy, but increase the diﬃculty of determined by the tradeoﬀ between accuracy and complexity of mod-

identiﬁcation. In this study, two weather inputs – outdoor temperature eling. The increase of order leads to the improvement of model accu-

and solar radiation, which are usually considered to have the greatest racy, but increase of the complexity in modeling and control. The order

impact on indoor temperature, are selected. The occupancy schedule is of the system model is the sum of the orders of the three transfer

relative ﬁxed, and the occupancy density is about 0.03 Person/m2 in the functions, and then the model order is also the tradeoﬀ between ac-

building, except for about 20% increase of occupancy between 19:00 to curacy and complexity.

21:00 each day. So in this study, the occupancy was regarded as a Resistance and capacitance (RC) method has been widely used to

model building thermal response. Fig. 7 shows a simple two-node

model for a hypothetical building external wall. The purpose of the

model is to reveal how outdoor temperature To aﬀects indoor tem-

perature Ti, therefore, in this study, the model with indoor and outdoor

temperature is a part of the whole system model. A simple model shown

in Fig. 7(a) is used to approximate the relationship [23]. The zone node

has a thermal capacitance equal to C1, and R1 represents the thermal

resistance between outdoor and indoor. It is obvious that the model is a

ﬁrst order model as shown in Eq. (4).

dTi

R1 C1 + Ti = To

dt (4)

Fig. 6. Simpliﬁed scheme of the system.

A more complex model (see Fig. 7(b)) is also used to illustrate the

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J. Zhuang et al. Building and Environment 127 (2018) 1–12

Fig. 7. RC model.

thermal resistance of the external wall is divided into R1 and R2, and the

thermal capacitance of the wall C2 is added as an additional model

node. The model is described by state space equations as shown in Eq.

(5) and (6).

dTi 1 Fig. 9. The block diagram of the model.

C1 = (Tow − Ti )

dt R1 (5)

dTow 1 1 system as shown in the dashed box in Fig. 8. In other words, the HVAC

C2 = (To − Tow ) + (Ti − Tow ) system with existing control system is the modeling object in this study.

dt R2 R1 (6)

Step response method can be used to determine the system transfer

Then the relationship between To and Ti can be rewritten as a second function by injecting step signal and observing the system response

order diﬀerential equation as shown in Eq. (7). In other words, the output. If the system is approximated as a ﬁrst order system, it can be

model is a second order model. expressed as a ﬁrst order diﬀerential equation as Eq. (8)

d 2Ti dT dy (t ) 1 K

R1 R2 C1 C2 + (R1 C1 + R2 C2 − R2 C1) i + Ti = To + y (t ) = usup (t − τ )

dt 2 dt (7) dt T T (8)

It can be seen, the order of model has been determined at the be- And the corresponding transfer function is deﬁnes as:

ginning of modeling by using RC method. However, any model is an

Ke−τs

approximation to the modeled object, and at the beginning of modeling, Gsup (s ) =

Ts + 1 (9)

the information about the order has not yet been obtained. The order of

the model cannot be determined unless the response characteristics of where K is the gain, T is the time constant, and τ is the pure lag time.

the model can be obtained after the experiment or data analysis are These three parameters can be determined by the step response method.

implemented. At the same time, the tradeoﬀ between accuracy and As shown in Eq. (3), the transfer function Gsup(s) can be obtained by

complexity should also be considered when developing the model. keeping another two variables as zeroes. Of course, the zero means no

Therefore, at the beginning of modeling, the order of the model should deviation from equilibrium. Thus, to minimize the impact of the load

not be determined, and should be expressed as a “RC network”, as during the experiment, it is appropriate to select a cloudy or rainy day

shown in Fig. 7(c). to do the experiment. Therefore August 1, 2016 was selected because it

was a rainy day. The diﬀerence between the highest and lowest tem-

3.4. Modeling under manipulated variables perature of the day was 4 °C. The solar radiation was small and had

little change during the daytime. The inﬂuence from these two factors

The manipulated variable is the supply chilled water temperature. If were neglected as the ﬂuctuation of the bypass valve opening level

the variable changes, the bypass valve opening level must change. As caused by these two factors was small. Test result is presented as

shown in the dashed box of Fig. 8, if the load is constant, given a rise in Fig. 10. The step excitation was generated by setting the supply chilled

the supply chilled water temperature, the AHUs' valve opening level water temperature set point.

will become larger, and the FCs' valve will open for longer time. It The transfer function can be obtained graphically [40]. The curve of

causes the chilled water diﬀerential pressure to become smaller. In the bypass valve opening level is smoothed by least square method

order to maintain the diﬀerential pressure at the set value of 0.12 MPa, ﬁrstly as in Fig. 11. By observing, the output curve is S-shaped, so the

the controller will adjust the bypass valve to make the opening level system is a high order system. It is appropriate in engineering that the

smaller. transfer function is approximated as a ﬁrst order model. The gain K can

This paper studies the relationship between the supply chilled water be calculated directly from the steady-state values of the input and

temperature and the bypass valve opening level. Taking into account output, and τ and T can be determined by plotting as shown in Fig. 11.

the short time in experiment, the load changes can be ignored, and the A tangent line is drawn for response curve, which intersects the two

block diagram of the model is shown in Fig. 9. The block in the ﬁgure steady state line. The time between the two intersections is time con-

represents the HVAC system that contains the closed loop control stant T. Pure lag time can be determined by the time between the ﬁrst

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J. Zhuang et al. Building and Environment 127 (2018) 1–12

function of the input signal, and Ryu (τ ) is the cross-correlation function

between the output and the input signals. In the calculation of the two

correlation function, some irrelevant variables such as measurement

error, noise, etc. are suppressed, because the so-call irrelevant is that

the cross-correlation function between two variables is zero. In other

words, the Ruu (τ ) and Ryu (τ ) do not include the information of irrele-

vant variables such as measurement error and noise.

Then, Eq. (12) is employed to obtain the transfer function. The

principle is that when a random signal passes through a linear system,

the ratio between the CPSD Syu (jω) and the PSD Suu (jω) is just the

system transfer function. When the complex frequency is deﬁned as

s = jω, the transfer function in the Laplace transform G(s) must be

equal to the one in the Fourier transform. G(jω) [45]. It is interesting to

Fig. 11. The transfer function determination by plotting. ﬁnd that the formula of the transfer function for random variables is

similar to Eq. (1) for deterministic signals.

intersection and the starting point of the step response. In the three step

Syu (jω)

responses in Fig. 10, it is untrusted at 9:20, for the initial value of 0% G (jω) =

did not reﬂect the operating condition of the HVAC system, but in- Suu (jω) (12)

dicates that it is turned oﬀ. The model parameters estimated by two

Unlike manipulated variables, modeling with random variables re-

experiments at 14:00 and 17:30 are similar, and the average of two

quires a signiﬁcant number of data samples. Data quality is as im-

identiﬁcations is taken as the model parameters. Finally, the transfer

portant as the data quantity when implementing a data-driven based

function is:

method. The data for the transition process is not desirable, for ex-

7.03e−14.9s ample, the data obtained during the HVAC system startup in the

Gsup (s ) =

84.25s + 1 morning and shutdown in the evening, since from Eq. (2), modeling

with random variables requires that the manipulated variable does not

change, and the transition process means the manipulated variable

3.5. Modeling for random variables by PSD method changed. Data of August 20–22, 2016 were selected. The sampling in-

terval was 30 s, and the data was obtained from 10:00 to 21:00 when

It is obvious that outdoor temperature and solar radiation can not be the HVAC system is under operation. During the experiment, the supply

step changed, and the step response method is not applicable for these chilled water temperature was maintained at the equilibrium value

two random variables. For random variables, a stochastic process 7 °C.

modeling method should be used. In this study, power spectral density In this study, the output is bypass valve opening level and the inputs

(PSD) is chosen for modeling, since it has the ability to suppress irre- are outdoor temperature and solar radiation. As given in Eq. (12), the

levant signals, and to improve the modeling accuracy. CPSD of output and input, and PSD of input should be estimated, re-

Firstly, the cross power spectral density (CPSD) Syu (jω) between the spectively. Then the quotient of the CPSD and the PSD will also be

output and the input signal, and the PSD Suu (jω) of the input signal are calculated. The results of the quotient for diﬀerent inputs are presented

acquired, and they are the Fourier transform of the corresponding in terms of amplitude and phase at diﬀerent frequencies in Figs. 12 and

correlation function as Eqs. (10) and (11). In this study, the output 13. A discrete ﬁlter is applied to ﬁt the frequency response data by

signal y is the bypass valve opening level, and the input signal u is using least squares method [44]. And the result will be a form where

outdoor temperature or solar radiation. both the numerator and the denominator are polynomials, which is

usually the form of the transfer function. Considering the tradeoﬀ be-

Syu (jω) = F (Ryu (τ )) (10) tween simpliﬁcation and accuracy, second-order model were chosen to

7

J. Zhuang et al. Building and Environment 127 (2018) 1–12

temperature.

obtain the transfer functions given as: inputs are determined, they are transformed to discrete form for sub-

sequent use. Secondly, these transfer functions are converted into the

2.125s + 1.268

Gout (s ) = form of state equations. Then the form of the cost function for MPC can

354.2s 2 + 42.31s + 1

be determined. The objective of this study is to minimize the opening

0.002352s + 0.01451 level of the bypass valve. Therefore, the following cost function can be

Gsol (s ) = obtained.

213.2s 2 + 25.42s + 1

N

J (k ) = ∑ [w (k + i) − y (k + i k )]2

i=0 (13)

Firstly, as the three transfer functions which are related to the three subject to:

Fig. 13. Transfer function amplitude and phase for solar radiation.

8

J. Zhuang et al. Building and Environment 127 (2018) 1–12

xk + i + 1 k = Axk + i k + Buk + i k + Ddk + i k , ∀ i = 0, …, N − 1 (14) one of the sequence y*(k) is implemented on the process. As new in-

formation becomes available at the next sampling time, the above

yk + i k = Cxk + i k (15) process will be repeated. Then a new sequence is generated, and the

ﬁrst value of the new sequence is used to control.

u min ≤ uk + i k ≤ u max (16) The cost function in Eq. (13) minimizes a sum of the deviations of

the bypass valve opening level from the set point, which means the

where N is the prediction horizon, the symbol uk + i k denotes the vari-

control target will be achieved. And the control structure of the system

able u at time k+i predicted at time k, u is a vector of the control inputs

is shown in Fig. 15. In the ﬁgure, random variables are outdoor tem-

within the prediction horizon N, that is the supply chilled water tem-

perature and solar radiation, and they directly act on the prediction

perature as a scalar in this study, dk + i k are the random variables, out-

model and play the role of the feedforward. The prediction model,

door temperature and solar radiation where the predicted value can be

which is composed of the three transfer functions described above,

obtained from the local weather forecast station and it represents the

predicts the future value of bypass valve opening level based on the two

feedforward control structure, yk + i k is the predicted output at time k,

which is obtained by iteratively solving Eqs. (14) and (15) using the random variables and the supply chilled water temperature. The pre-

control inputs and random variables, u min and u max are set to 7 °C and dicted supply chilled water temperature enters the controller as a

16 °C respectively. feedback value, and then the controller, according to the optimization

As discussed in section 3.1, the smaller the bypass valve opening control algorithm, adjusts the supply chilled water temperature to

level is, the higher the supply chilled water temperature is, which control the bypass valve opening level to the setpoint.

means higher chiller eﬃciency. However, it means that the cooling

capacity is less than the requirement of the building cooling load when 5. Results and discussions

the bypass valve is completely closed (i.e., the opening level is 0%). So

the opening level set point w (k + i) is set to be 10% to avoid the fully 5.1. Model validation

closed bypass valve.

The output variable is the controlled variable, also known as the The performance of the model under random variables is evaluated

control objective. When HVAC system energy saving is studied in this by the normalized root mean squared error (NRMSE) ﬁtness value:

paper, chiller proﬁle should be incorporated into system modeling if n

electricity consumption is chosen as the control variable. This would 1 ∑1 (y (k ) − yˆ (k ))2

NRMSE =

increase the model complexity and therefore electricity consumption is ymax − ymin n (17)

not adopted as the control output variable in this research. The ﬂow

rate of supply chilled water is approximately constant due to the con- where y is the real output value and ŷ is the calculated output value. If

stant speed pumps. Therefore, energy saving can be realized by in- the matching between the calculated value and the real value is too

creasing the supply water temperature while maintaining the zone low, the parameters of the PSD method should be changed, and then the

comfort. There is no need to obtain the quantitative relationship be- PSD method is re-applied to modeling until a satisfactory matching

tween the supply chilled water and chiller energy consumption because degree is obtained. The parameters include samples of overlap from

such relationship is not needed in the optimization calculation. section to section and the selected window function. After sensitivity

In Eq. (13), the supply water temperature is not used as a controlled test, parameters for PSD were set as follows: the window is 10 that

variable. However, in this study, the bypass valve opening level is se- means a Hamming window of equal length is used, and the overlap is

lected as the controlled variable as shown in Fig. 14. Here the HVAC the default value 50%.

system with the existing control system is demonstrated in the dash box The bypass valve opening level calculated by the weather data of

in Fig. 8 and is illustrated in Fig. 9. Although the bypass valve opening August 23, 2016 is compared to the real opening level, as shown in

level is a manipulate variable in the original system as shown in Fig. 8, Fig. 16. NRMSE is 0.127 meaning that the model has a ﬁtness of 87.3%.

it is used as a controlled variable as shown in Fig. 14 for the following Fig. 17 demonstrates the discrepancy between the calculated value Yp

reason. If the supply water temperature is selected as the controlled and the real value Yr, all the blue point are clustered around the line:

variable, the control structure in Fig. 14 has to be changed in Eq. (14) as Yr = Yp. From these two ﬁgures, it can be seen that the model accuracy

a constraint condition. Because in order to ensure the indoor comfort, is satisﬁed. The comparison does not include the transition process

the supply water temperature cannot increase without limit, in other because the transition process after chillers re-start is not modeled in

words, the bypass valve opening level must not be closed. Solving this this study.

constraint is same as the handling the opening level when it is used as

the controlled variable, therefore, can also be solved through Eqs. 5.2. Control simulation

(13)–(16).

The prediction horizon, N is normally selected as large as possible in Before incorporating the MPC strategy in an online experiment, it

the premise of ensuring the computation ability. In this study, the was tested under simulation environment. The objective of the simu-

HVAC system is turned oﬀ in every night. Thus, the prediction horizon lation study was to examine the closed loop performance. Usually,

at each sample time is variable. In each sampling time, the optimal when MPC is applied online, the control object outputs are measured by

sequence {y∗ (k + i)}iN=−01 is obtained by using Eqs. (13)–(16). The ﬁrst the sensors and then fed back to the controller. For simulation purpose,

9

J. Zhuang et al. Building and Environment 127 (2018) 1–12

structure.

CC CC ⎞2

Ih = ⎧I0⋅sinh⋅⎡C0 + C1⋅ + C2⋅⎛ + C3⋅(θn − θn − 3) + C4 ϕ ⎤ − C5 ⎫

⎨ ⎢

⎣ 10 ⎝ 10 ⎠ ⎥

⎦ ⎬

⎩ ⎭

/k (18)

is 1353 W/m2, h is solar elevation angel, CC is cloud cover and the

value is 0,1, …10, θn and θn − 3 are the temperatures at some moment

and 3 h ago, ϕ is relative humidity, and C0…C5 and k are constants

given in Table 1. Fig. 18 demonstrates the simulation result from test

data obtained in August 24, 2016. Since the transition process after

chillers re-start is not studied, the control is implemented when system

reaches a steady state.

Fig. 16. Comparison of the calculated and real value.

After simulation, the data in same day is also used in real test.

Fig. 18 (a) and (b) show the bypass valve opening level and the supply

chilled water temperature in the simulation and the actual experiment

respectively. The results are very similar. It shows that MPC can over-

come the model mismatch caused by simpliﬁcation in modeling pro-

cess. MPC algorithm includes three parts: prediction model, rolling

optimization and feedback correction, and the latter two ensure that the

control system has a feedback structure, which can tolerate a certain

degree of model mismatch.

The electricity consumption in August 23, 2016 and August 24,

2016 were used to evaluate the energy saving potential by increasing

supply chilled water temperature. The traditional control method was

implemented in August 23, which from 9:00 to 21:00, the average

outdoor temperature and solar radiation, and the electricity consump-

tion of the two days are listed in Table 2. It can be seen that two days of

climate is almost the same. And it can obtain a 16% chiller energy

saving that the control method for increasing supply chilled water

temperature is applied, compared with the traditional method that

Fig. 17. Bypass valve opening level prediction error. maintain the temperature at 7 °C. In fact, if the outdoor temperature is

lower than the two experiment days, the energy saving potential is

the controlled object in Fig. 15 is replaced by the model same as the greater due to the higher supply water temperature that can meet the

prediction model. Although the prediction model is diﬀerent from the lower load. Increasing the supply chilled water temperature may aﬀect

real system, MPC can still overcome the small model mismatch, since the dehumidiﬁcation eﬀect. And the indoor relative humidity is also

MPC algorithm includes a feedback alignment. listed in Table 2. It can be seen that the humidity is slightly higher by

The weather prediction only have the maximum and minimum

Table 1

outdoor temperatures for the next day, and the solar radiation has no

Constant value used in Eq. (18) [42].

prediction. Outdoor temperature forecast can be replaced by sinusoidal

curve [41]. Solar radiation prediction can be obtained by Eq. (18) [42]: C0 C1 C2 C3 C4 C5 k

10

J. Zhuang et al. Building and Environment 127 (2018) 1–12

and experiment.

Table 2 and PSD method are used respectively for system modeling under these

Comparison results of the electricity consumption in two days. two categories of variables. Step response method is more applicable in

the real practice due to its simplicity and easy to implement. PSD

Date Avg. outdoor Avg. solar Electricity Indoor relative

temperature radiation consumption humidity method belongs to data driven methods, and its accuracy depends on

the richness of the data. Given the proposed method, higher model

Aug. 23 35.4 °C 1145 W/m2 7337 kWh 49.3%–53.5% accuracy is achieved and modeling complex is lowered through being

Aug. 24 35.1 °C 1089 W/m2 6161 kWh 62.7%–68.7%

applied in a medium sized commercial building in China.

The test bypass valve in chiller plant was controlled through the

proposed MPC strategy. Energy saving can be achieved by the proposed

using the control method of this study, due to increased supply chilled

MPC strategy.

water temperature and dehumidiﬁcation capacity decreased. Although,

We expect to further improve the accuracy of this bypass valve

humidity control is critical to maintain thermal comfort, the range of

control model by including more random variables such as occupancy

relative humidity in this building is set to 55%–70% which can be

and electricity rate. It is worth studying that how much of these vari-

maintained even the chilled water supply temperature ﬂuctuates in

ables that will be added to improve the accuracy of the model, and then

certain scope. Therefore, in this research, the humidity control was not

improve the control performance.

considered.

Acknowledgements

6. Conclusion and future work

The research work presented in this paper is ﬁnancially supported

Buildings are usually approximated as linear systems, and there is a by Beijing Municipal Education Commission science and technology

tradeoﬀ between the model accuracy and the control performance. If a program [Grant No. SQKM201510016002].

control strategy can well compensate model error, the model can be

simpliﬁed to a low order model, vice versa. In the real practice, the References

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12

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