Objective - To enable the development of a new generation of commercial products for integrated cybernetic building systems and transform industry practices for building operations, through a combination of measurement science research enabled by state-of-the-art testbeds and direct involvement in key standards development and policy activities.
What is the new technical idea? Testbeds for evaluating controls, commissioning tools, and fault detection and diagnostic tools have been identified as a key industry need. EL has successfully built a Virtual Cybernetic Building Testbed (VCBT) that combines the flexibility and reproducibility of simulation tools with networks of commercial building automation and control products to create a laboratory environment that realistically approximates actual building performance. The new idea is to expand the capabilities of the VCBT to emulate a wider range of buildings, building equipment, and operating conditions. The result will be a facility that can emulate a variety of building designs in any climate under both normal operating conditions and a range of fault or hazardous conditions. It will be a key resource for developing commissioning tools, fault detection tools, smart grid standards and operating practices, enhancements to the BACnet standard, performance metrics for commercial products, and best practice guidelines for building owners and operators. The products from this research facility, when combined with technical support for key underpinning standards, will drive the needed industry changes.
What is the research plan? This project will enable the development of new integrated cybernetic building system control products and improved industry practices through two components:
- Ongoing technical support for enhancing the capabilities and international adoption of the BACnet communication protocol standard. This includes direct participation and leadership in the ASHRAE SSPC 135 committee, ISO/TC 205 WG 3, and BACnet International.
- The features and capabilities of the VCBT will be enhanced to enable evaluation of more complex building systems including systems with local renewable energy generation and storage systems. This will enable more advanced research in commissioning and automated fault detection and diagnostics. It will also enable research in optimization of building systems and integration of building systems with a smart grid.
In FY 2016, the older data acquisition system hardware infrastructure used to link computer simulations with commercial building controllers will be replaced to ensure continued operation of the facility and increase the flexibility of use. New standard sequence of operations will be implemented in both the building controllers and the supporting building simulation to support testing of automated commissioning tools. The HVACSIM+ user interface will be updated to make it easier to develop simulations for different building configurations.
 Measurement Science Roadmap for Net-Zero Energy Buildings – Workshop Summary Report, NIST Technical Note 1660, March 2010.