Conference article

A Platform for the Agent-based Control of HVAC Systems

Roozbeh Sangi
Institute for Energy Efficient Buildings and Indoor Climate, E.ON Energy Research Center, RWTH Aachen University, Germany

Felix Bünning
Institute for Energy Efficient Buildings and Indoor Climate, E.ON Energy Research Center, RWTH Aachen University, Germany

Johannes Fütterer
Institute for Energy Efficient Buildings and Indoor Climate, E.ON Energy Research Center, RWTH Aachen University, Germany

Dirk Müller
Institute for Energy Efficient Buildings and Indoor Climate, E.ON Energy Research Center, RWTH Aachen University, Germany

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Published in: Proceedings of the 12th International Modelica Conference, Prague, Czech Republic, May 15-17, 2017

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 132:87, p. 799-808

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Published: 2017-07-04

ISBN: 978-91-7685-575-1

ISSN: 1650-3686 (print), 1650-3740 (online)


The amount of energy used for heating and cooling in the building sector is about one third of the total energy consumed in the world. The finiteness of natural energy resources on the one hand, and the ever-increasing demand for energy in the world on the other hand, necessitate the development of systematic approaches for improving the efficiency of building energy systems as well as minimizing the usage of primary energy resources and the damaging impacts on the environment. Attempts to tackle these problems have led to modern complex energy concepts for buildings, which have consequently initiated a need for new control strategies for them. Multi-agent control, which is known with other names like agent-based control, offers a promising solution to these challenges. To the knowledge of the authors, there are 96 platforms in different programming languages available, which are mostly java-based and mainly used in logistic applications, but there is no platform in the modeling language Modelica, which is widely used for simulation of dynamic systems, especially buildings performance simulation. This lack motivated the authors to develop a platform for agent-based control of HAVC systems. The platform eliminates the dependency of models developed in Modelica on an extra interface, which is usually required to couple the models to the platforms written in any programming languages other than Modelica. This paper presents the structure of the platform and explains how the agents’ communications work. The flexibility of the optimization objective is ensured through the definition of readily interchangeable cost functions. The applicability and functionality of the platform are proved by applying the platform in the control of building energy systems examples.


Agent-based control, Building energy systems, Control, HVAC, Modelica, Multi-Agent System


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