City administrators and real-estate developers have been setting up rather aggressive energy efficiency targets. This, in turn, has led the building science research groups across the globe to focus on urban scale building performance studies and level of abstraction associated with the simulations of the same. The increasing maturity of the stakeholders towards energy efficiency and creating comfortable working environment has led researchers to develop methodologies and tools for addressing the policy driven interventions whether it’s urban level energy systems, buildings’ operational optimization or retrofit guidelines. Typically, these large-scale simulations are carried out by grouping buildings based on their design similarities i.e. standardization of the buildings. Such an approach does not necessarily lead to potential working inputs which can make decision-making effective. To address this, a novel approach is proposed in the present study.
The principle objective of this study is to propose, to define and evaluate the methodology to utilize machine learning algorithms in defining representative building archetypes for the Stock-level Building Energy Modeling (SBEM) which are based on operational parameter database. The study uses “Phoenix- climate” based CBECS-2012 survey microdata for analysis and validation.
Using the database, parameter correlations are studied to understand the relation between input parameters and the energy performance. Contrary to precedence, the study establishes that the energy performance is better explained by the non-linear models.
The non-linear behavior is explained by advanced learning algorithms. Based on these algorithms, the buildings at study are grouped into meaningful clusters. The cluster “mediod” (statistically the centroid, meaning building that can be represented as the centroid of the cluster) are established statistically to identify the level of abstraction that is acceptable for the whole building energy simulations and post that the retrofit decision-making. Further, the methodology is validated by conducting Monte-Carlo simulations on 13 key input simulation parameters. The sensitivity analysis of these 13 parameters is utilized to identify the optimum retrofits.
From the sample analysis, the envelope parameters are found to be more sensitive towards the EUI of the building and thus retrofit packages should also be directed to maximize the energy usage reduction.