An Encoder-Decoder LSTM-Based EMPC Framework Applied to a Building HVAC System

Matthew Ellis, Venkatesh Chinde

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus Citations


Numerous studies have demonstrated the benefit of economic model predictive control (EMPC) applied to building heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. However, the construction and training of predictive models for building HVAC systems are widely recognized as a key technological barrier preventing large-scale adoption of EMPC for buildings. In this work, an encoder–decoder long short-term memory-based EMPC framework is developed. The key advantage of the approach is that a model may be automatically generated from a list of inputs and outputs. From the definition of inputs and outputs, the constructed model may be trained and automatically embedded into the EMPC framework for real-time estimation and control. The overall end-to-end EMPC framework from model training to on-line estimation and control are described. To this end, the encoder–decoder model provides a natural framework for state estimation (encoder), which is required to provide an initial condition for the predictive model of EMPC (decoder). Closed-loop simulations using EnergyPlus are performed to demonstrate the approach. The simulated closed-loop system consists of a building zone from a multi-zone building, which is served by an air handling unit-variable air volume HVAC system. For the HVAC example considered, the trained encoder–decoder model can predict the indoor air temperature and HVAC sensible cooling rate of a building zone over a two-day horizon with high accuracy. Considering a time-of-use electric rate structure, the EMPC, which manipulates the zone temperature setpoint, can reduce the HVAC power consumption cost relative to keeping the zone temperature setpoint at its maximum value (i.e., minimum energy approach).

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)508-520
Number of pages13
JournalChemical Engineering Research and Design
StatePublished - Aug 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Institution of Chemical Engineers

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5500-77355


  • Building HVAC systems
  • Economic model predictive control
  • Energy optimization
  • Long short term memory model


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