Data fusion in predicting internal heat gains for office buildings through a deep learning approach
Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) is a major energy consumer in buildings. The predictive control has demonstrated a potential to reduce HVAC energy use. To facilitate predictive HVAC control, internal heat gains prediction is required. In this study, we applied Long Short-Term Memory Networks, a special form of deep neural network, to predict miscellaneous electric loads, lighting loads, occupant counts and internal heat gains in two United States office buildings. Compared with the predetermined schedules used in American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) standard 90.1, the Long Short-Term Memory Networks method could reduce the prediction errors of internal heat gains from 12% to 8% in Building A, and from 26% to 16% in Building B. It was also found that for internal heat gains prediction, miscellaneous electric loads is a more important feature than occupant counts for two reasons. First, miscellaneous electric loads is the best proxy variable for internal heat gains, as it is the major component of and has the highest correlation coefficient with the internal heat gains. Second, miscellaneous electric loads contain valuable information to predict occupant count, while occupant count could not help improve miscellaneous electric loads prediction. These findings could help researchers and practitioners select the most relevant features to more accurately predict internal heat gains for the implementation of predictive HVAC control in buildings.