The Building Controls Virtual Test Bed – a Simulation Environment for Developing and Testing Control Algorithms, Strategies and Systems

Publication Type

Conference Proceedings


The paper describes the design of a Building Controls Virtual Test Bed (BCVTB), a simulation environment for the development of control algorithms and strategies for the major energy systems in buildings, HVAC, lighting, active facades and on-site generation. The BCVTB is based on the whole building energy simulation program EnergyPlus and includes both the pure simulation and the hardware-in-the-loop methods of implementing the controls. For convenience and scalability, the design of the hardware-in-the-loop interface for supervisory controls uses BACnet rather than the analog interface used for local loop control. The paper concludes with a case study of the use of a prototype implementation of the BCVTB to precommission the building control system for the naturally-ventilated San Francisco Federal Building. A number of problems were found with the control program, demonstrating the value of the precommissioning and the effectiveness of the technique.

Conference Name

Building Simulation ’07

Year of Publication


Conference Location

Bejing, China
Research Areas