Achieving national goals of net zero energy buildings requires substantial reduction in the energy consumption of commercial building systems. Although significant progress has been made in the integration of building control systems through the development of standard communication protocols, such as BACnet and BACnet/IP, little progress has been made in making them "intelligent" about optimizing building system-level performance. The focus of this project is to demonstrate the potential for distributed, intelligent software agents to perform this optimization and to develop a research infrastructure suitable for development and testing of advanced agent-based optimization techniques that can improve the energy and comfort performance of building systems.
Objective - To demonstrate the feasibility of intelligent agent control techniques for reducing energy consumption in commercial buildings by optimizing the performance of interacting building systems and to create a research infrastructure suitable for ongoing development and testing of advanced agent-based optimization techniques.
Commissioning the new laboratory will be a major focus in FY2016. That involves adding instrumentation, programming and verifying control sequences, and testing the data acquisition and archiving system. The laboratory was designed so that different systems can be isolated and tested independently. The performance characteristics of each subsystem will be experimentally determined. The outdoor air unit, which conditions outdoor air to provide the inlet boundary conditions for the laboratory, will be tested to determine the range and reproducibility of inlet conditions that it can provide. Similar tests will be conducted to characterize the performance of the cooling tower simulator, hot water plant, and zone loads. The end result will be a well-characterized facility operated using a conventional control strategy.
The other major focus for FY2016 will be completing a software model of the laboratory that will enable rapid evaluation of potential control algorithms. The most promising algorithms can then be deployed in the actual laboratory for evaluation in real systems. Data acquired from laboratory operations will be used to validate the model at both the component and system levels.
Research in future years will focus on developing and testing candidate agent-based optimization techniques. As promising techniques emerge, the research will be expanded to include field testing that is expected to involve CRADAs with control system manufactures and building owners in order to verify laboratory results and speed commercialization of the technology.
Lessons learned from this research will also enable development of draft specifications for several intelligent building agents (e.g., an Air Handling Unit agent, a Chiller agent), including a list of functions to be included in each agent, technical design features, software architecture, and methods for system identification, communication, and negotiation among agents. NIST will work with standards writing organizations, such as ASHRAE, to develop guidelines and/or standards based on these specifications to facilitate the implementation of intelligent agents in building control applications.
Start Date:October 1, 2011
Lead Organizational Unit:el
Virtual Cybernetic Building Testbed
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