Energy Optimization for HVAC Systems in Multi-VAV Open Offices: A Deep Reinforcement Learning Approach

by   Hao Wang, et al.

With more than 32 buildings, there is an urgent need to revisit traditional approaches to Building Energy Management (BEM). With HVAC systems accounting for about 40 the total energy cost in the commercial sector, we propose a low-complexity DRL-based model with multi-input multi-output architecture for the HVAC energy optimization of open-plan offices, which uses only a handful of controllable and accessible factors. The efficacy of our solution is evaluated through extensive analysis of the overall energy consumption and thermal comfort levels compared to a baseline system based on the existing HVAC schedule in a real building. This comparison shows that our method achieves 37 consumption with minimum violation (<1 during work hours. It takes only a total of 40 minutes for 5 epochs (about 7.75 minutes per epoch) to train a network with superior performance and covering diverse conditions for its low-complexity architecture; therefore, it easily adapts to changes in the building setups, weather conditions, occupancy rate, etc. Moreover, by enforcing smoothness on the control strategy, we suppress the frequent and unpleasant on/off transitions on HVAC units to avoid occupant discomfort and potential damage to the system. The generalizability of our model is verified by applying it to different building models and under various weather conditions.


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