A short-term building cooling load prediction method using deep learning algorithms

Cheng Fan, Fu Xiao, Yang Zhao

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

445 Citations (Scopus)


� 2017 Short-term building cooling load prediction is the essential foundation for many building energy management tasks, such as fault detection and diagnosis, demand-side management and control optimization. Conventional methods, which heavily rely on physical principles, have limited power in practice as their performance is subject to many physical assumptions. By contrast, data-driven methods have gained huge interests due to their flexibility in model development and the rich data available in modern buildings. The rapid development in data science has provided advanced data analytics to tackle prediction problems in a more convenient, efficient and effective way. This paper investigates the potential of one of the most promising techniques in advanced data analytics, i.e., deep learning, in predicting 24-h ahead building cooling load profiles. Deep learning refers to a collection of machine learning algorithms which are powerful in revealing nonlinear and complex patterns in big data. Deep learning can be used either in a supervised manner to develop prediction models with given inputs and output (i.e., cooling load), or in an unsupervised manner to extract meaningful features from raw data as model inputs. This study exploits the potential of deep learning in both manners, and compares its performance in cooling load prediction with typical feature extraction methods and popular prediction techniques in the building field. The results show that deep learning can enhance the performance of building cooling load prediction, especially when used in an unsupervised manner for constructing high-level features as model inputs. Using the features extracted by unsupervised deep learning as inputs for cooling load prediction can evidently enhance the prediction performance. The findings are enlightening and could bring more flexible and effective solutions for building energy predictions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)222-233
Number of pages12
JournalApplied Energy
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • Big data
  • Building cooling load
  • Building energy prediction
  • Data mining
  • Deep learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Energy(all)
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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