Application of artificial neural networks for optimized AHU discharge air temperature set-point and minimized cooling energy in VAV system

Jong Man Lee, Sung Hyup Hong, Byeong Mo Seo, Kwang Ho Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


Chillers and boilers based air handling unit (AHU) system is one of the most widely used heating and cooling systems in office buildings in Korea. However, in most conventional forced-air systems, the guidelines for the AHU discharge air temperature (DAT) are not fully established and thus AHU DAT are constantly fixed to a particular set-point, regardless of dynamic changes of operating variables. In this circumstance, this study aimed at developing a control algorithm that can operate a conventional VAV system with optimal set-points for the AHU DAT. Three-story office building was modeled using co-simulation technique between EnergyPlus and Matlab via BCVTB (Building Controls Virtual Test Bed). In addition, artificial neural network (ANN) model, which was designed to predict the cooling energy consumption for the upcoming next time-step, was embedded into the control algorithm using neural network toolbox within Matlab. By comparing the predicted energy for the different set-points of the AHU DAT, the control algorithm can determine the most energy-effective AHU DAT set-point to minimize the cooling energy. The results showed that the prediction accuracy between simulated and predicted outcomes turned out to have a low coefficient of variation root mean square error (CvRMSE) value of approximately 24%. In addition, the predictive control algorithm was able to significantly reduce cooling energy consumption by approximately 10%, compared to a conventional control strategy of fixing AHU DAT to 14 °C. These findings suggest that the ANN model and the control algorithm showed energy saving potential for various types of forced air systems by taking dynamic operating conditions into account in each time-step.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)726-738
Number of pages13
JournalApplied Thermal Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 2019 May 5

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Human Resources Development of the Korea Institute of Energy Technology Evaluation and Planning (KETEP) grant funded by the Korea Government Ministry of Trade, Industry & Energy (No. 20184030201900 ).


  • AHU (Air Handling Unit)
  • AHU Discharge Air Temperature (DAT)
  • ANN (Artificial Neural Network)
  • BCVTB (Building Controls Virtual Test Bed)
  • EnergyPlus
  • Matlab

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Application of artificial neural networks for optimized AHU discharge air temperature set-point and minimized cooling energy in VAV system'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this