Tuning machine learning models for prediction of building energy loads

Seyedzadeh, Saleh and Pour Rahimian Leilabadi, Farzad and Rastogi, Parag and Glesk, Ivan (2019) Tuning machine learning models for prediction of building energy loads. Sustainable Cities and Society, 47. 101484. ISSN 2210-6707 (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scs.2019.101484)

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There have been numerous simulation tools utilised for calculating building energy loads for efficient design and retrofitting. However, these tools entail a great deal of computational cost and prior knowledge to work with. Machine Learning (ML) techniques can contribute to bridging this gap by taking advantage of existing historical data for forecasting new samples and lead to informed decisions. This study investigated the accuracy of most popular ML models in the prediction of buildings heating and cooling loads carrying out specific tuning for each ML model and using two simulated building energy data generated in EnergyPlus and Ecotect and compared the results. The study used a grid-search coupled with cross-validation method to examine the combinations of model parameters. Furthermore, sensitivity analysis techniques were used to evaluate the importance of input variables on the performance of ML models. The accuracy and time complexity of models in predicting heating and cooling loads are demonstrated. Comparing the accuracy of the tuned models with the original research works reveals the significant role of model optimisation. The outcomes of the sensitivity analysis are demonstrated as relative importance which resulted in the identification of unimportant variables and faster model fitting.