The commercial building sector is one of the largest energy consumers in the U.S., and lighting, heating, ventilating and air conditioning contribute to more than half of the energy consumption and carbon emissions in buildings. Controls are the most effective way of increasing energy efficiency in building systems; however, the interdependencies among building subsystems must be taken into account to achieve deep energy savings. A networked sensing and actuation infrastructure shared among building systems is the key to optimal integrated control of the interdependent building elements in low energy and zero net energy buildings.
This paper presents a rapid-prototyping controls implementation platform based on the Building Controls Virtual Test Bed (BCVTB) framework that is capable of linking to building sensor and actuator networks for efficient controller design and testing. The platform creates a separation between the controls and the physical systems so that the controller can easily be implemented, tested and tuned with real performance feedback from a physical implementation. We realized an integrated lighting control algorithm using such a rapid-prototyping platform in a testing facility with networked sensors and actuators. This implementation has demonstrated an up to 57% savings in lighting electricity and 28% reduction in cooling demand.