AbstractThis paper investigates the use of dilated causal convolutional neural networks for fine- grained temporal forecasting of building zone states. Specifically, we build and evaluate models using a small set of exogenous features (e.g., external temperature) to autoregressively predict zone airflow setpoints every minute for a 24-hour prediction window. We carefully explore the trade-off between generality and specificity in these models, training and evaluating them based on zone, zone type, month, season, and combinations thereof. When evaluated for a commercial office building in Eastern Washington with 16 zones served by variable air volume air handling units, we find that the highest performance comes from a zone-specific, season-agnostic approach; with it, we obtain an R 2 of 0.704 (averaged over zones) and an average normalized root mean square error ( nRMS E ) of 0.111. In contrast, the most general model (trained across all zones and seasons) yields an R 2 of only 0.416 and a nRMS E of 0.168, while a baseline zone-specific reduced order model obtains 0.443 R 2 and 0.159 nRMS E . We also report on factors affecting airflow forecasting performance, on the ability of models trained on a specific zone to generalize to other zones, and on the capability of those models trained on a specific month to generalize to other months.
Published: March 28, 2023