Improving Efficiency and Reliability of Building Systems Using Machine Learning and Automated Online Evaluation

Wu, Leon Li; Kaiser, Gail E.; Solomon, David M.; Winter, Rebecca Lynn; Boulanger, Albert G.; Anderson, Roger N.

A high percentage of newly-constructed commercial office buildings experience energy consumption that exceeds specifications and system failures after being put into use. This problem is even worse for older buildings. We present a new approach, 'predictive building energy optimization', which uses machine learning (ML) and automated online evaluation of historical and real-time building data to improve efficiency and reliability of building operations without requiring large amounts of additional capital investment. Our ML approach uses a predictive model to generate accurate energy demand forecasts and automated analyses that can guide optimization of building operations. In parallel, an automated online evaluation system monitors efficiency at multiple stages in the system workflow and provides building operators with continuous feedback. We implemented a prototype of this application in a large commercial building in Manhattan. Our predictive machine learning model applies Support Vector Regression (SVR) to the building's historical energy use and temperature and wet-bulb humidity data from the building's interior and exterior in order to model performance for each day. This predictive model closely approximates actual energy usage values, with some seasonal and occupant-specific variability, and the dependence of the data on day-of-the-week makes the model easily applicable to different types of buildings with minimal adjustment. In parallel, an automated online evaluator monitors the building's internal and external conditions, control actions and the results of those actions. Intelligent real-time data quality analysis components quickly detect anomalies and automatically transmit feedback to building management, who can then take necessary preventive or corrective actions. Our experiments show that this evaluator is responsive and effective in further ensuring reliable and energyefficient operation of building systems.



More About This Work

Academic Units
Computer Science
Department of Computer Science, Columbia University
Columbia University Computer Science Technical Reports, CUCS-008-12
Published Here
May 10, 2012