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Journal of Control Science and Engineering
Volume 2017, Article ID 3035892, 18 pages
Research Article

Online Model Learning of Buildings Using Stochastic Hybrid Systems Based on Gaussian Processes

Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Institute for Software Integrated Systems, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37235, USA

Correspondence should be addressed to Hamzah Abdel-Aziz; ude.tlibrednav@zizaledba.hazmah

Received 17 March 2017; Revised 12 June 2017; Accepted 2 July 2017; Published 23 August 2017

Academic Editor: Tushar Jain

Copyright © 2017 Hamzah Abdel-Aziz and Xenofon Koutsoukos. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Dynamical models are essential for model-based control methodologies which allow smart buildings to operate autonomously in an energy and cost efficient manner. However, buildings have complex thermal dynamics which are affected externally by the environment and internally by thermal loads such as equipment and occupancy. Moreover, the physical parameters of buildings may change over time as the buildings age or due to changes in the buildings’ configuration or structure. In this paper, we introduce an online model learning methodology to identify a nonparametric dynamical model for buildings when the thermal load is latent (i.e., the thermal load cannot be measured). The proposed model is based on stochastic hybrid systems, where the discrete state describes the level of the thermal load and the continuous dynamics represented by Gaussian processes describe the thermal dynamics of the air temperature. We demonstrate the evaluation of the proposed model using two-zone and five-zone buildings. The data for both experiments are generated using the EnergyPlus software. Experimental results show that the proposed model estimates the thermal load level correctly and predicts the thermal behavior with good performance.