Seminar Series

A Building Performance Simulation Test Bed for Evaluating Energy Control Strategies


Prof. Gregor Henze


Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Canterbury

Time & Place

Mon, 30 May 2022 13:30:00 NZST in Jack Erskine 101


This seminar presents an open-source building performance simulation test bed, the Advanced Controls Test Bed (ACTB), that interfaces high-fidelity Spawn of EnergyPlus building models with advanced controllers implemented in Python. The ACTB leverages the Building Operation Performance Test and Alfalfa frameworks for managing simulations, providing an external clock, a representational state transfer (REST) application programming interface (API), and key performance indicators for evaluating the effectiveness of control strategies. Three test cases are presented to demonstrate the ACTB's capabilities: a) rule-based controls compliant with ASHRAE Guideline 36 control sequences; b) an economic model predictive control implemented using do-mpc; and c) a deep Q-network reinforcement learning agent implemented using OpenAI Gym.


Gregor Henze holds the Charles Schelke Chair in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering at the University of Colorado. His teaching and research focuses on the building energy systems side of architectural engineering. He is the primary author of more than 150 research articles, four of which have received best paper awards, and received three patents. Prof. Henze is a Fellow of the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute, joint professor at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, as well as co-founder and chief scientist of QCoefficient, Inc., a startup developing real-time optimal control solutions for grid-interactive efficient buildings. He is currently the Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Science, Technology, and Innovation at CSIRO in Newcastle, Australia for 2022.