Gradient boosting machine for modeling the energy consumption of commercial buildings
Accurate savings estimations are important to promote energy efficiency projects and demonstrate their cost-effectiveness. The increasing presence of advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) in commercial buildings has resulted in a rising availability of high frequency interval data. These data can be used for a variety of energy efficiency applications such as demand response, fault detection and diagnosis, and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) optimization. This large amount of data has also opened the door to the use of advanced statistical learning models, which hold promise for providing accurate building baseline energy consumption predictions, and thus accurate saving estimations. The gradient boosting machine is a powerful machine learning algorithm that is gaining considerable traction in a wide range of data driven applications, such as ecology, computer vision, and biology. In the present work an energy consumption baseline modeling method based on a gradient boosting machine was proposed. To assess the performance of this method, a recently published testing procedure was used on a large dataset of 410 commercial buildings. The model training periods were varied and several prediction accuracy metrics were used to evaluate the model’s performance. The results show that using the gradient boosting machine model improved the R‑squared prediction accuracy and the CV(RMSE) in more than 80 percent of the cases, when compared to an industry best practice model that is based on piecewise linear regression, and to a random forest algorithm.