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A framework for calibrating and validating an air loop dynamic model in an HVAC system in Modelica



Yicheng Li, Zhelun Chen, Jin Wen, Yangyang Fu, Amanda Pertzborn, Zheng O'Neill


The use of Modelica for simulating the dynamic behaviors of building heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems has gained popularity. Calibration of a Modelica model that represents large and complex HVAC systems involves the determination of hundreds of parameters using real-world operation data. Considering the coupling effects among components, such a calibration process is complex and time-consuming. In this study, we propose a systematic framework to efficiently calibrate and validate a Modelica model for complex HVAC systems. The framework includes strategies to solicit real-system operation data and to decouple the Modelica model components. The goal of this calibration framework is to accurately and efficiently determine a set of Modelica model parameters that provide a good match between the simulated and real system behaviors. To demonstrate the validity of the framework, it was applied to calibrate the parameters of a Modelica model of the air loop subsystem of a real AHU-VAV system. The results show that the calibrated Modelica model can generate simulated results, including VAV air flow rate, outdoor air flow, and fan power consumption, that match well with the operational data of the real system. The CV(RMSE) of the air flow rate and power consumption are 14.6 % and 11.5 %, respectively. The results prove that the framework is valid and effective, and it can be used to calibrate other complex Modelica HVAC system models in the future.
Proceedings Title
Proceedings of Building Simulation 2023: 18th Conference of IBPSA
Conference Dates
September 4-6, 2023
Conference Location
Shanghai, CN
Conference Title
Building Simulation 2023


Modelica, HVAC, AHU-VAV, calibration, validation


Li, Y. , Chen, Z. , Wen, J. , Fu, Y. , Pertzborn, A. and O'Neill, Z. (2023), A framework for calibrating and validating an air loop dynamic model in an HVAC system in Modelica, Proceedings of Building Simulation 2023: 18th Conference of IBPSA, Shanghai, CN, [online],, (Accessed April 15, 2024)
Created September 6, 2023, Updated March 11, 2024