A Practical Multi-Sensor Cooling Demand Estimation Approach Based on Visual, Indoor and Outdoor Information Sensing

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Original languageEnglish
Article number3591
Journal / PublicationSensors (Switzerland)
Issue number11
Online published23 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018



The operating efficiency of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system is critical for building energy performance. Demand-based control is an efficient HVAC operating strategy, which can provide an appropriate level of HVAC services based on the recognition of actual cooling “demand.” The cooling demand primarily relies on the accurate detection of occupancy. The current researches of demand-based HVAC control tend to detect the occupant count using cameras or other sensors, which often impose high computation and costs with limited real-life applications. Instead of detecting the occupant count, this paper proposes to detect the occupancy density. The occupancy density (estimated by image foreground moving pixels) together with the indoor and outdoor information (acquired from existing sensors) are used as inputs to an artificial neural network model for cooling demand estimation. Experiments have been implemented in a university design studio. Results show that, by adding the occupancy density, the cooling demand estimation error is greatly reduced by 67.4% and the R value is improved from 0.75 to 0.96. The proposed approach also features low-cost, computationally efficient, privacy-friendly and easily implementable. It shows good application potentials and can be readily incorporated into existing building management systems for improving energy efficiency.

Research Area(s)

  • background subtraction, cooling demand estimation, HVAC, occupancy density, vision-based occupancy detection

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