The current article presents an analysis conducted upon the sensor data gathered from the distribution control system of a central heating and cooling plant in Ottawa, Canada. After observing that the performance of four boilers and five chillers of this plant vary substantially in time under steady-state conditions, data-driven models were developed to explain this variability from the archived sensor data. By employing a forward stepwise regression and a repeated random sub-sampling cross-validation approach, two-layer feed-forward artificial neural network models with 7 to 15 hidden-nodes were selected for each boiler and chiller. The selected boiler models could explain 84% to 95% of the variability in a boiler's efficiency, and the selected chiller models could explain 65% to 94% of the variability in a chiller's coefficient of performance. Among studied nine variables, the most informative ones to predict a boiler's efficiency were identified as follows: flue gas O2 concentration, pressure, part-load ratio, forced draft fan state, and return water flow rate. Unlike boilers, all four studied variables were found useful in predicting a chiller's coefficient of performance. These four variables were the return water flow rate, part-load ratio, outdoor temperature, and return water temperature. A residual analysis was conducted to verify the appropriateness of the selected models to the datasets. In addition, potential use cases for the selected models were discussed with illustrative examples.

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Journal Science and Technology for the Built Environment
Gunay, H.B, Shen, W. (Weiming), & Yang, C. (Chunsheng). (2017). Blackbox modeling of central heating and cooling plant equipment performance. Science and Technology for the Built Environment, 1–14. doi:10.1080/23744731.2017.1401417