Group for Research in Decision Analysis

G-2020-30

Autonomous control in smart buildings: A deep reinforcement learning approach

, , , and

Deep learning has redefined modern standards and performance in several areas such as computer vision and natural language processing. With increasing amounts of frequently sampled data in advanced metering infrastructure, similar opportunities are readily available for smart grid actors' optimization. In this regard, we consider the problem of remote high-granularity control with low computational power in deployment and intermittent connectivity for heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning components in smart buildings. Thereupon, we introduce an adapted autonomous multi-system command infrastructure based on deep reinforcement learning. Through several deployment safety measures, we demonstrate significant improvements in expenses, thermal comfort, energy consumption, power peaks and equipment cycling using an adaptation of the Deep Q-Learning algorithm on case studies of physics-based simulations relying on real historical weather data. We quantify the resulting optimization and illustrate both the scalability and flexibility of our approach by comparing the trained controller to its classical reactive counterparts on instances requiring simultaneous control on up to seven parallel systems.

, 17 pages