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Development of a Grey Box Thermal Dynamic Model without Building Construction Knowledge

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posted on 22.05.2021, 17:56 by Elizabeth LeRiche
Model Predictive Controllers (MPC) in building Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems have demonstrated significant energy savings when compared to typical on/off controllers. MPCs require information about the building’s thermal dynamics which is challenging to model, especially for older structures without buildings specifications. This research investigates the ability to develop a grey box thermal dynamic model that can determine the net thermal dynamics, without any building construction information. Sensors were installed within a test cell to monitor the building automation system (BAS) points, and collect building element surface temperature data. The simulation program Simulink was used to develop and test iterations of grey box models. The final model, that relies solely on BAS points, is able to predict the ambient temperature for a 3-hour Prediction Window to within 1.7% accuracy. This model demonstrates the potential for more buildings to implement HVAC MPC systems with grey box thermal dynamic modeling





Master of Applied Science


Building Science

Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type