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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2022
  2. Abstract Advanced building climate control systems have the potential to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy costs, but more research is needed to bring these systems to market. A key component of building control research is testing algorithms through simulation. Many high-fidelity simulation testbeds exist, but they tend to be complex and opaque to users. Simpler, more transparent testbeds also exist, but they tend to neglect important nonlinearities and disturbances encountered in practice. In this paper, we develop a simulation testbed that is computationally efficient, transparent and high fidelity. We validate the testbed empirically, then demonstrate its use through the examples of system identification, online state and parameter estimation, and model predictive control (MPC). The testbed is intended to enable rapid, reliable analysis of building control algorithms, thereby accelerating progress toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions at scale. We call the resulting testbed and supporting functions the bldg toolbox, which is free, open source, and available online.
  3. Abstract The integration of variable and intermittent renewable energy generation into the power system is a grand challenge to our efforts to achieve a sustainable future. Flexible demand is one solution to this challenge, where the demand can be controlled to follow energy supply, rather than the conventional way of controlling energy supply to follow demand. Recent research has shown that electric building climate control systems like heat pumps can provide this demand flexibility by effectively storing energy as heat in the thermal mass of the building. While some forms of heat pump demand flexibility have been implemented in the form of peak pricing and utility demand response programs, controlling heat pumps to provide ancillary services like frequency regulation, load following, and reserve have yet to be widely implemented. In this paper, we review the recent advances and remaining challenges in controlling heat pumps to provide these grid services. This analysis includes heat pump and building modeling, control methods both for isolated heat pumps and heat pumps in aggregate, and the potential implications that this concept has on the power system.