Short-term building energy model recommendation system: A meta-learning approach

Can Cui, Teresa Wu, Mengqi Hu, Jeffery D. Weir, Xiwang Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


High-fidelity and computationally efficient energy forecasting models for building systems are needed to ensure optimal automatic operation, reduce energy consumption, and improve the building's resilience capability to power disturbances. Various models have been developed to forecast building energy consumption. However, given buildings have different characteristics and operating conditions, model performance varies. Existing research has mainly taken a trial-and-error approach by developing multiple models and identifying the best performer for a specific building, or presumed one universal model form which is applied on different building cases. To the best of our knowledge, there does not exist a generalized system framework which can recommend appropriate models to forecast the building energy profiles based on building characteristics. To bridge this research gap, we propose a meta-learning based framework, termed Building Energy Model Recommendation System (BEMR). Based on the building's physical features as well as statistical and time series meta-features extracted from the operational data and energy consumption data, BEMR is able to identify the most appropriate load forecasting model for each unique building. Three sets of experiments on 48 test buildings and one real building were conducted. The first experiment was to test the accuracy of BEMR when the training data and testing data cover the same condition. BEMR correctly identified the best model on 90% of the buildings. The second experiment was to test the robustness of the BEMR when the testing data is only partially covered by the training data. BEMR correctly identified the best model on 83% of the buildings. The third experiment uses a real building case to validate the proposed framework and the result shows promising applicability and extensibility. The experimental results show that BEMR is capable of adapting to a wide variety of building types ranging from a restaurant to a large office, and gives excellent performance in terms of both modeling accuracy and computational efficiency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)251-263
Number of pages13
JournalApplied Energy
StatePublished - Jun 15 2016


  • Building energy consumption
  • Feature reduction
  • Machine learning
  • Meta-learning
  • Recommendation system
  • Time series forecasting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


Dive into the research topics of 'Short-term building energy model recommendation system: A meta-learning approach'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this