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  Cornell University

MAE Publications and Papers

Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

New article: Testing Building Controls with the BLDG Toolbox

Article: Kircher, KJ; Zhang, KM; “Testing Building Controls with the BLDG Toolbox”, 2016 American Control Conference (ACC), 1472-1477

Abstract:  We introduce the open-source MATLAB (R) toolbox bldg. The main function, bsim, simulates a simple building under forcing from the outdoor air temperature, sun, and internal heat sources. bsim retains the mathematical structure of state-of-the-art building simulators, including time-varying solar forcing, PDE-governed wall temperatures, and nonlinearities arising from thermal radiation and temperature-dependent convection coefficients. Supporting functions are provided to instantiate a default building object, import weather data, and generate internal heat source signals. The bldg toolbox is intended to eliminate the need to model a building or leave the MATLAB (R) environment before testing an estimation or control algorithm. We demonstrate the software through the examples of system identification, online state and parameter estimation, and model predictive control.

Open research questions that the bldg toolbox could help explore are noted.

Funding Acknowledgement:  U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy; Hydro Research Foundation

Funding Text:  The authors are grateful to the Hydro Research Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy for support.

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