Automatic and rapid calibration of urban building energy models by learning from energy performance database

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Journal Article

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Urban building energy modeling (UBEM) is attracting increasing attention in the energy modeling filed. Unlike modeling a single building using detailed building systems information, UBEM generally uses limited high-level building stock data to infer default assumptions about building characteristics and operations. This practice inherently brings uncertainty to UBEM. This study introduced a novel method of automatic and rapid calibration of UBEM based on the annual electricity and natural gas energy use data by learning the correlations between crucial model input parameters and the building energy use from the reference building models. A case study was presented to calibrate 72 large office buildings built before 1978 in San Francisco. Seventeen model parameters were selected and Monte Carlo sampling was used to create 1000 samples that reasonably represent the parameter space. Then 1000 simulations were performed for the reference building model to create an energy performance database. The results showed that by learning from the energy performance database, it took less than four simulation runs on average to calibrate a building model. After the calibration, the distributions of each parameter were obtained to replace their single predefined default values. For example, the default lighting power density of 21.39 W/m2 was calibrated to be 7.50 W/m2 on average. The case study successfully demonstrated the effectiveness of the novel calibration method for UBEM in the mild climate. The method will be further tested in future for other climate zones and other building types.


Applied Energy



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