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Reinforcement Learning for Intelligent Building Energy Management System Control *...

by Olivera Kotevska, Phillip Andelfinger
Publication Type
Book Chapter
Publication Date
Page Numbers
371 to 386
Publisher Name
Wiley-IEEE Press
Publisher Location
New York, New York, United States of America

A building energy management system (BEMS) is a computer-based system designed to monitor and control a building's energy needs. Modern BEMS rely on the sensing and connectivity capabilities of Internet of Things (IoT) technology to intelligently adjust the energy consumption to reduce cost while respecting the consumers' preferences. Increasingly, control decisions are made based on predictions by models trained using supervised machine learning methods, which still requires control policies to be formulated in a rule-based fashion. When using reinforcement learning (RL) instead, control policies are learned by observing the utility in terms of cost and comfort associated with actions such as a change in the heating system's setpoint. The resulting RL-based controllers can capture not only the dynamics of the building and the associated electrical devices, but also fluctuations in electricity prices and user demand, avoiding the need to combine multiple predictive models with tailored control policies. This chapter will provide an overview of RL-based approaches for BEMS. After sketching the taxonomy of general RL methods, we discuss the implications of relying on the individual methods in a BEMS context. Existing work applying RL is presented along the key devices controlled by BEMS systems. Finally, we summarize the state-of-the-art and sketch limitations and open research directions.