EBC Annex 17 Building Energy Management Systems - Evaluation and Emulation Techniques


Status: Completed (1988-1992)

Operating Agent: Prof Jean Lebrun, Lab. de Thermodynamique, University of Liege. Belgium.



This annex is evaluating building energy management system methodology as well as developing emulation techniques. The intention is not to develop EMS techniques, but to help users make a better choice and make better use of the many existing systems. The project contains three complementary subtasks:

Subtask A

Prospective assessment of EMS potential. This subtask consists mainly in prolonging the work of previous Annex 10 towards control and energy management applications. The HVAC component data bank will be implemented as and when necessary. New "simulation exercises" will be organised with growing levels of complexity in order to assess the correct use of existing models and also in order to produce reference results.

Subtask B

This subtask is an extension of existing audit methods in the field of control and EMS. As for other subtasks, priority is given to the methodologies, but some case studies will be considered with Annex 16.

Subtask C

Development of emulation methods. Emulators will be developed by the participants in their own countries. These emulators will be tested on common examples. Common conclusions and guidelines about the methods will be established.

 Expected results:


The identification of most attractive aspects of EMS

A better understanding of the real behaviour of HVAC controls

An analysis of evaluation techniques to be used "on site" and examples of results.

A proposal of emulation methodology with examples of results.


Participants: Belgium, Germany, Finland, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden, UK, USA, France

Observers: Japan, Norway



Technical Synthesis Report. A Summary of IEA Annexes 16 and 17. Building Energy Management Systems
Mansson L G, McIntyre D
UK, AIVC, 1997, ISBN 0 946075 98 0, 40 pp
Order Printed Copy  £20.00 (Order Code: ANN 16_17 TSR 01)   Download

Development of Emulation Methods
Karki S (ed.)
Finland, VTT, Laboratory of Heating and Ventilation, Research Notes 1514, 1993, 134 pp. + app.
Order Printed Copy  £55.00 (Order Code: ANN 17 1993:1)

An emulator is an artificial system which acts externally like a real system. A building emulator is a HVAC and control system testing facility which is comprised of both actual HVAC-equipment and partly computer simulation models. An emulator for a building energy managment system (BEMS) application consists of a simulated building and its (simulated) mechanical system connected to a real BEMS. Emulators are suitable for use in testing, product development, training, tuning control equipment, imitating plant fault, and performance evaluation of process equipment.
The report presents a collaborative research effort which was carried out by IEA (International Energy Agency) Annex 17. Within the project six building emulators using different hardware and software were developed in different countries. The report describes the basic structure of these emulators and the validation tests performed. In addition, various applications emulators are discussed in general and for BEMS testing in particular. Guidelines for building an emulator and for evaluating BEMS performance are presented. An example of the use of emulation techniques for BEMS quality assessment is also described.

BEMS - Evaluation and Emulation Techniques: Synthesis Report
Lebrun J, Wang S
Belgium, University of Liege, Lab. of Thermodynamics, March, 1993, 33pp.
Out of Print