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New solutions for control and energy management in buildings

The aim of the project is to develop solutions for controlling air conditioning, heating and lighting systems; as well as methods for total energy management in buildings, based on intelligent and learning methods. With these new procedures we can improve the energy economy of buildings and their instrument systems, and facilitate the work of the maintenance personnel.

TKK's responsibility in this project is to implement and test a learning and intelligent room air controller in a real-life situation in VTT's experimental house in Otaniemi. The test object, a low energy office building, is an example of the future of building.

One part of the project is a vast literary research on the potential and ways of application of neural networks and fuzzy control in building automation.

The utilization rate may be quite low in office buildings, but also in residential ones as well. A typical office building may be in use for only 40-50 % of the day. The room air controller being developed operates so that the temperature can be lowered when the people are away, and before the people return, the room is heated again to the pre-set temperature.

According to simulations it is possible to save as much as tens of procents in heating energy by using a controller of this kind, depending of the usage rate of the building. The controller can also controlthe fan of the ventilation system, by which further savings can be attained. The user can enter a comfort-economy rate of his choice, which is used e.g. to determine how much the temperature can be dropped while the people are away. The learning parts of the controller deal with mastering the dynamics and adapting the controlling parameters without the need to model the house precisely.

The project is done in cooperation with VTT Building and Transport and Control Engineering Laboratory (TKK). The research is financed by Tekes and Finnish companies.

  • Keywords: building automation, control, energy saving
  • Duration: 2000-2001
  • Research areas: Process Control
  • Related projects: SMINT
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