- Project report
- Open Access
Project report: new generation intelligent building platform techniques
© The Author(s) 2018
- Received: 17 January 2018
- Accepted: 16 March 2018
- Published: 26 July 2018
Governments and societies all over the world pay more and more attention to the research and development of smart buildings. There are numerous research projects on smart buildings that have been or being conducted worldwide.
In this project report, we give an introduction about a newly launched research project sponsored by the Chinese central government. This project aims to combine information technology and control & optimization methodology to address challenging problems in building energy. To study and implement a decentralized control and optimization paradigm in smart buildings is one of the key tasks of this project.
The combination of informatics and energy is a very important viewpoint to study the management and operation of modern buildings. Research activities in this area shall contribute a lot to the invention and development of new building industrial opportunities.
- Smart building
- Building energy
- Cyber physical system
- Decentralized control
As one of the most important parts of infrastructure supporting daily life of human society, buildings’ efficient and safe operation is a critical issue. Just taking building energy consumption as an example, buildings contribute a significant part of the total energy consumption in many developed and developing countries. For example, in 2016, buildings (residential and commercial sectors) consume about 40% of the total energy and 70% of the electricity in the United States, according to the annual energy review of the U.S. Energy Information Administration (https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=86&t=1). The numbers in EU and other developed countries are also similar (https://ec.europa.eu/energy/en/topics/energy-efficiency/buildings) (Berardi 2015). In China, the energy consumption in buildings has risen from 10% to 25% of the overall energy consumption of the country since 1978, and is predicted to be increased to 35% in the coming years (Jia et al. 2014).
However, the efficient and safe operation control and management of buildings is extremely challenging due to the strong dependence of building performances on continuously varying functionalities of buildings, occupant behaviors, outdoor environments, diversified structure and building materials, customized operation management strategies, and so on. Thus, the intelligent building control and management is by nature a cross-disciplinary research, and requires one to use the knowledge (such as models on building dynamics, occupant behaviors, and outdoor environments) and the methodology (such as optimization and online decision-making theory) from multiple fields.
In recent decades, the fast development of information technology has significantly changed the engineering, economical, and social fields of human society. The research on smart buildings also thrives, although most of our current buildings are still working in an out-of-date manner. Utilizing modern information and control technology (ICT) to rebuild the information infrastructure of buildings has fundamental effects on the research of smart buildings. Since building is a very important part of the whole energy system in human world, the combination of informatics and energy plays a significant role in the research of efficient management and operation of modern buildings. The research of smart buildings in China is developing fast. However, the deployment of building management systems (BMS) in China still needs numerous efforts to make it become a standard. The current BMS is in a centralized form and it requires a lot of manpower to make configurations during the deployment. The scalability and robustness are also potential concerns. How to treat these challenges is an interesting research topic.
Recently, China launched a National Key Research and Development Program entitled new generation intelligent building platform techniques (2017.07–2020.12) with Grant No. 2017YFC0704100. Such category of programs is the top tier of scientific projects sponsored by the Chinese government, which reflects the prior research direction national wide. A typical financial amount of such project is around 10 million US dollars and it will involve many partners diverse from universities, research institutes, industrial companies, etc.
Some deliveries of this project include a decentralized operating system for smart buildings and intelligent electromechanical devices working in decentralized form. The system will be deployed in at least 5 demonstration buildings, more than 100,000 square meters. These buildings are commercial complexes and located in different climate zones of China, two in South China, one in East China, and two in North China. The operating system should accommodate more than 5000 intelligent nodes, 30 types of electromechanical devices, and 20 software applications. The accumulative localization errors of indoor occupants should be less than 10%.
Prof. Qianchuan Zhao from the Center for Intelligent and Networked Systems (CFINS), Department of Automation, Tsinghua University is the PI of the project. Prof. Jili Zhang and Prof. Guowei Wu from Dalian University of Technology, Prof. Jianchun Xing and Prof. Qiliang Yang from PLA University of Science and Technology, Prof. Qiansheng Fang and Prof. Zhenya Zhang from Anhui Jianzhu University, and Dr. Ziyan Jiang from Tsinghua University are Co-PIs. The team also includes researchers and engineers from China Academy of Building Research, China Institute of Building Standard Design & Research, China Architecture Design Group and other industrial partners. The industrial partners have three types of companies. One type is the real estate companies, such as China Resources (Holdings), which provide demonstration buildings to deploy our technology developed in this project. The second type is the manufacturers of building devices, such as Gree Electric Appliances and Sinro Air-Conditioning Company, which provide the manufacturing of intelligent building devices. The third type is the system integrators, such as Tsinghua Tongfang, which deploy the whole system to demonstration buildings.
Discussion and evaluation
Although China is still a developing country, China has a fast investment rate of infrastructure construction all over the world. For the sector of building industry, China has more than 50% of the constructed super high-rise buildings in the world (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_tallest_buildings) and more are under construction. The combination of informatics and energy is a very important viewpoint to study the management and operation of modern buildings. The Chinese government has realized the importance of buildings in the whole energy system and research & development. A lot of research grants and programs are being announced, according to the national 5-years research plan of China. These emerging research activities also contribute a lot to the invention and development of new industrial opportunities.
The authors would like to present their appreciation to the entire research team of this project, who have contributed and been contributing to advance the progress of this project.
This work was supported by the National Key Research and Development Program of China with Grant No. 2017YFC0704100.
Availability of data and materials
This report does not include specific experiment data or materials.
QZ and LX mainly composed the manuscript and ZJ provided the details about the decentralized testbed. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
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Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
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