Energy simulation and optimization for a small commercial building through Modelica

Rivas, Bryan
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Small commercial buildings make up the majority of buildings in the United States. Energy consumed by these buildings is expected to drastically increase in the next few decades, with a large percentage of the energy consumed attributed to cooling systems. This work presents the simulation and optimization of a thermostat schedule to minimize energy consumption in a small commercial building test bed during the cooling season. The simulation occurs through the use of the multi-engineering domain Dymola environment based on the Modelica open source programming language and is optimized with the Java based optimization program GenOpt. The simulation uses both physically based modeling utilizing heat transfer principles for the building and regression analysis for energy consumption. GenOpt is dynamically coupled to Dymola through various interface files. There are very few studies that have coupled GenOpt to a building simulation program and even fewer studies have used Dymola for building simulation as extensively as the work presented here. The work presented proves Dymola as a viable alternative to other building simulation programs such as EnergyPlus and MatLab. The model developed is used to simulate the energy consumption of a test bed, a commissioned real world small commercial building, while maintaining indoor thermal comfort. Potential applications include smart or intelligent building systems, predictive simulation of small commercial buildings, and building diagnostics.

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Building Energy, Building Simulation, Dymola, GenOpt, Modelica, Optimization
Mechanical Engineering