Zhe Wang

Zhe Wang
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology | UST · Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Doctor of Philosophy

About

76
Publications
34,382
Reads
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2,955
Citations
Citations since 2017
68 Research Items
2942 Citations
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201720182019202020212022202302004006008001,000
201720182019202020212022202302004006008001,000
Introduction
I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. My research interests are using machine learning techniques to enhance building performance through virtual sensing and advanced control, such as Model Predictive Control (MPC) and Reinforcement Learning.
Additional affiliations
December 2018 - present
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Position
  • Researcher
June 2018 - November 2019
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Position
  • PostDoc Position

Publications

Publications (76)
Article
With the spread of the Internet of Things in the construction industry, non-invasive thermal adaptive behavior recognition provides a new method for the real-time assessment of the indoor thermal environment. Pioneering research on noninvasive measurements of thermal discomfort for thermal preference prediction based on occupants' adaptive behavior...
Article
Passengers significantly affect airport terminal energy consumption and indoor environmental quality. Accurate passenger forecasting provides important insights for airport terminals to optimize their operation and management. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly increased the uncertainty in airport passenger since 2020. There are insufficien...
Article
Full-text available
Thermal energy storage (TES) for a cooling plant is a crucial resource for load flexibility. Traditionally, simple, heuristic control approaches, such as the storage priority control which charges TES during the nighttime and discharges during the daytime, have been widely used in practice, and shown reasonable performance in the past benefiting bo...
Article
Full-text available
Model Predictive Control (MPC) is a promising technique to address growing needs for heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems to operate more efficiently and with greater flexibility. However, due to a number of factors, including the required implementation expertise, lack of high quality data, and a risk-adverse industry, MPC has...
Article
Full-text available
This paper introduces a database of 34 field-measured building occupant behavior datasets collected from 15 countries and 39 institutions across 10 climatic zones covering various building types in both commercial and residential sectors. This is a comprehensive global database about building occupant behavior. The database includes occupancy patte...
Article
Full-text available
This paper presents the curation of a monitored dataset from an office building constructed in 2015 in Berkeley, California. The dataset includes whole-building and end-use energy consumption, HVAC system operating conditions, indoor and outdoor environmental parameters, and occupant counts. The data were collected during a period of three years fr...
Article
Restricting social distancing is an effective means of controlling the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in a sharp drop in the utilization of commercial buildings. However, the specific changes in the operating parameters are not clear. This study aims to quantify the impact of COVID-19 lockdowns on commercial building energy consumption and the indoor...
Article
Full-text available
Smart buildings play a crucial role toward decarbonizing society, as globally buildings emit about one-third of greenhouse gases. In the last few years, machine learning has achieved a notable momentum that, if properly harnessed, may unleash its potential for advanced analytics and control of smart buildings, enabling the technique to scale up for...
Article
Hydrogen-based (H2-based) interactive energy networks for buildings and transportations provide novel solutions for carbon-neutrality transition, regional energy flexibility and independence on fossil fuel consumption, where vehicle fuel cells are key components for H2-electricity conversion and clean power supply. However, due to the complexity in...
Article
Behind-the-meter distributed energy resources (DERs), including building solar photovoltaic (PV) technology and electric battery storage, are increasingly being considered as solutions to support carbon reduction goals and increase grid reliability and resiliency. However, dynamic control of these resources in concert with traditional building load...
Article
Cleaner power production, distributed renewable generation, building-vehicle integration, hydrogen storage and associated infrastructures are promising for transformation towards a carbon–neutral community, whereas the academia provides limited information through integrated solutions, like intermittent renewable integration, hydrogen sharing netwo...
Article
To enhance the energy efficiency of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, which is a non-linear and complicated system, machine learning has been used intensively. However, traditional white-box machine-learning models with good interpretability often do not have satisfactory accuracy, while black-box machine-learning models tha...
Article
Full-text available
This paper presents a synthetic building operation dataset which includes HVAC, lighting, miscellaneous electric loads (MELs) system operating conditions, occupant counts, environmental parameters, end-use and whole-building energy consumptions at 10-minute intervals. The data is created with 1395 annual simulations using the U.S. DOE detailed medi...
Article
Full-text available
Training and validating algorithms in a simulation testbed can accelerate research and applications of optimal control of residential loads to improve energy flexibility and grid resilience. We developed an open-source simulation environment, AlphaBuilding ResCommunity, that can be used to train and validate algorithms to control a single thermosta...
Article
Full-text available
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified buildings aim to offer a sustainable and healthy building environment. Previous studies have shown mixed and inconsistent results on whether occupants in LEED-certified buildings are more satisfied than in non-LEED-certified counterparts. Those studies are usually based on surveys or qu...
Article
Occupants’ adaptive strategies play an important role in office buildings' energy consumption. Previous research has mostly focused on the adaptive strategies triggered by occupants’ indoor discomfort; however, it is crucial to understand if specific adaptive strategies are linked to occupants’ energy-saving intentions. This study explores the rela...
Article
Full-text available
With building electric demand becoming increasingly dynamic, and a growing percentage of intermittent renewable power generation from solar photovoltaics and wind turbines, the power grid is facing increasing challenge to manage the real time balance between the supply and demand. With advancements in smart sensing and metering, smart appliances, e...
Article
Full-text available
With climate change, heat waves have become more frequent and intense. Rotating power outages happen when the power supply is unable to meet the cooling demand increase resulting from extreme high temperatures. Power outages during heat waves expose residents to high risks of overheating. In this study, we propose a novel data-driven inverse modell...
Preprint
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified buildings aim to offer a sustainable and healthy built environment. Previous studies have shown mixed and inconsistent results on whether occupants in LEED-certified buildings are more satisfying than in non-LEED-certified counterparts. Those studies usually based on surveys or question...
Article
Full-text available
Accurate electricity demand forecasts that account for impacts of extreme weather events are needed to inform electric grid operation and utility resource planning, as well as to enhance energy security and grid resilience. Three common data-driven models are used to predict city-scale daily electricity usage: linear regression models, machine lear...
Article
The rapid development of advanced metering infrastructure provides a new data source—building electrical load profiles with high temporal resolution. Electric load profile characterization can generate useful information to enhance building energy modeling and provide metrics to represent patterns and variability of load profiles. Such characteriza...
Article
Building performance indicators are widely used to guide building design and track and benchmark operational performance. Traditional building performance indicators mostly focus on the energy efficiency perspective. As occupants are the primary building service recipients in residential and most commercial buildings, their comfort and wellbeing ar...
Article
Full-text available
Solar radiation affects occupant comfort and building energy consumption in ways that have received relatively little attention in environmental design and energy simulation. Direct, diffuse, and reflected irradiation on the body have warming effects that can be equated to increases in the mean radiant temperature (MRT) of the occupant's surroundin...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
We present an initial study of off-policy evaluation (OPE), a problem prerequisite to real-world reinforcement learning (RL), in the context of building control. OPE is the problem of estimating a policy's performance without running it on the actual system, using historical data from the existing controller. It enables the control engineers to ens...
Article
Full-text available
Building electrical load profiles can improve understanding of building energy efficiency, demand flexibility, and building-grid interactions. Current approaches to generating load profiles are time-consuming and not capable of reflecting the dynamic and stochastic behaviors of real buildings; some approaches also trigger data privacy concerns. In...
Article
Advanced energy algorithms running at big-data scale will be necessary to identify, realize, and verify energy savings to meet government and utility goals of building energy efficiency. Any algorithm must be well characterized and validated before it is trusted to run at these scales. Smart meter data from real buildings will ultimately be require...
Article
Full-text available
A vertical thermally stratified environment provides opportunities for improved ventilation effectiveness and energy efficiency, but vertical temperature gradient can also cause local thermal discomfort. ASHRAE 55 and ISO 7730 prescribe a 3 °C/m limit between head and feet for seated persons. However, an increasing amount of evidence suggests that...
Article
Rapid urbanization has driven economic and social development, but it has also led to continued growth in building energy consumption. It is of great significance to ensure the user comfort while controlling the growth of building energy use. Accurate quantification of urban buildings' energy demand can support energy efficient and sustainable comm...
Article
Building controls are becoming more important and complicated due to the dynamic and stochastic energy demand, on-site intermittent energy supply, as well as energy storage, making it difficult for them to be optimized by conventional control techniques. Reinforcement Learning (RL), as an emerging control technique, has attracted growing research i...
Article
The objective of this study is to develop a thermal comfort model by incorporating public health datasets and influencing parameters associated with both health and thermal comfort. There are three systematic influencing parameters identified in this study: socioeconomic development, population density, and annual mean temperature. The thermal comf...
Article
Full-text available
In buildings, one or a combination of systems (e.g., central HVAC system, ceiling fan, desk fan, personal heater, and foot warmer) are often responsible for providing thermal comfort to the occupants. While thermal comfort has been shown to differ from person to person and vary over time, these systems are often operated based on prefixed setpoints...
Article
Different thermal demands and preferences between individuals lead to a low occupant satisfaction rate, despite the high energy consumption by HVAC system. This study aims to quantify the difference in thermal demands, and to compare the influential factors which might lead to those differences. With the recently released ASHRAE Database, we quanti...
Article
Building thermal load prediction informs the optimization of cooling plant and thermal energy storage. Physics-based prediction models of building thermal load are constrained by the model and input complexity. In this study, we developed 12 data-driven models (7 shallow learning, 2 deep learning, and 3 heuristic methods) to predict building therma...
Article
Fueled by big data, powerful and affordable computing resources, and advanced algorithms, machine learning has been explored and applied to buildings research for the past decades and has demonstrated its potential to enhance building performance. This study systematically surveyed how machine learning has been applied at different stages of buildi...
Article
Occupant behavior influences office building energy performance. The level of human-building interactions (HBIs) in shared offices strongly influences building energy use and occupant well-being. This study explored the link between occupant personality types and their behaviors of sharing energy and environment control systems and interactions wit...
Article
We analyzed the ASHRAE Global Thermal Comfort Database II to answer a fundamental but overlooked question in thermal comfort studies: how many and which subjective metrics should be used for the assessment of the occupants' thermal experience. We found that the thermal sensation is the most frequently used metrics in Thermal Comfort Database II, fo...
Article
Full-text available
A carefully chosen indoor comfort temperature as the thermostat set-point is the key to optimizing building energy use and occupants’ comfort and well-being. ASHRAE Standard 55 or ISO Standard 7730 uses the PMV-PPD model or the adaptive comfort model that is based on small-sized or outdated sample data, which raises questions on whether and how ran...
Article
'Personal comfort systems' and thermally active clothing are able to warm and cool individual building occupants by transferring heat directly to and from their body surfaces. Such systems would ideally target local body surfaces with high-temperature sensitivities. Such sensitivities have not been quantified in detail before. Here we report local...
Article
Thermal discomfort is a widespread problem in the built environment, due in part to the variability of individual occupants' thermal preferences. Personal comfort systems (PCS) address this individual variability, and also enable more energy-efficient thermal conditioning in buildings by reducing the need for tight indoor temperature control. This...
Article
Thermal environment is important for both occupants’ comfort and health. Previously, the impacts of thermal environment were explored in the areas of thermal comfort and public health separately. This paper aims to bridge both disciplines by examining the correlation between comfort temperature and Minimum Mortality Temperature (MMT), which is a ke...
Article
Large amount of low-grade waste heat is discharged into the environment during industrial processes. This part of waste heat can be collected to serve district heating systems as an important heat source. In most studies of industrial waste heat recovery, the proposed system simulations were unsophisticated in terms of analyzing the real processes....
Conference Paper
Under the context of the rapid population aging, older people’s thermal comfort is of great interest in built environment. However, little research has been done to explore how their thermal sensation is influenced by skin temperatures. In this paper, we proposed a random forest-based approach to construct a model to predict older people’s thermal...
Conference Paper
We mapped thermal sensitivities of 318 skin spots over 15 body parts, in 48 college students. The results show that body parts had wide variance in thermal sensitivity. The foot, lower leg and upper chest are much less sensitive than average, while the cheek, neck back, and seat area are very sensitive to both cooling and warming stimuli. To examin...
Article
Predictive control has gained increasing attention for its ability to reduce energy consumption and improve occupant comfort in buildings. The plug loads prediction is a key component for the predictive building controls, as plug loads is a major source of internal heat gains in buildings. This study proposed a novel method to apply the Long-Short-...
Article
Full-text available
An important approach to curtail building energy consumption is to optimize building control based on occupancy information. Various studies proposed to estimate occupant counts through different approaches and sensors. However, high cost and privacy concerns remain as major barriers, restricting the practice of occupant count detection. In this st...
Article
This paper is a literature review of field studies on fan-use rates and their effects on thermal comfort, energy conservation, and human productivity. In the assessed literature, fans are more popular in Asia, and more used in mixed-mode (MM) and naturally ventilated (NV) buildings than in air-conditioned (AC) buildings. On the basis of collected f...
Article
Anomalous patterns in subjective votes can bias thermal comfort models built using data-driven approaches. A stochastic-based two-step framework to detect outliers in subjective thermal comfort data is proposed to address this problem. The anomaly detection technique involves defining similar conditions using a k-Nearest Neighbor (KNN) method and t...
Article
Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) is a major energy consumer in buildings. The predictive control has demonstrated a potential to reduce HVAC energy use. To facilitate predictive HVAC control, internal heat gains prediction is required. In this study, we applied Long Short-Term Memory Networks, a special form of deep neural network,...
Article
Air conditioning technologies (HVAC) have dramatically shaped today's building environment. However, the mutually dependent relationship between the indoor climate experience and occupants' thermal comfort adaptation rarely been given attention. To investigate the dynamic processes of adapting to different indoor climates, two comparative thermal c...
Article
This paper aims to review the published researches on post-occupancy performance of green buildings in terms of energy use, indoor environment quality (IEQ) and occupant satisfaction. A total of 925 related papers were searched and 106 articles were screened for deep review. The study also compared the actual operating performance of green building...
Article
Energy-related occupant behavior is crucial to design and operation of energy and control systems in buildings. Occupant behaviors are often oversimplified as static schedules or settings in building performance simulation ignoring their stochastic nature. The continuous and dynamic interaction between occupants and building systems motivates their...
Article
This paper presents an uncertainty analysis of subjective thermal comfort measurement, which was overlooked in some subjective thermal comfort studies. Three chamber experiments were conducted to collect the data and to analyze how the uncertainty of subjective measurement is influenced by the survey instrument and the experiment protocol. Four wid...
Conference Paper
This paper explores the ability of a low-energy wearable thermal device to improve whole body thermal comfort. The wearable device is a wristwatch-like thermal device with a 25mm * 25mm contact heating and cooling surface. Twenty-three subjects were recruited for testing in a climate chamber, with each participating in three 2-hour tests. The three...
Conference Paper
Personal comfort systems (PCS) aim to efficiently fulfill building occupants’ personal thermal comfort demands, but to date not many have been manufactured and evaluated. Based on the observation that foot/hand warming are most effective in cool conditions, and head cooling is most effective in warm environments, we built and tested a suite of PCS...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper presents laboratory study of local discomfort at the head and feet influenced by vertical temperature difference. We recruited 98 students and exposed them to four temperature differences (0.4, 2.9, 5.9, 8.3 K) between the head (1.1 m) and ankle (0.1 m) level. Results when subjects are close to whole-body thermal neutrality show that the...
Article
Advances in heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) technologies have dramatically improved the indoor thermal environment, but attention should be paid on how this would affect building occupants’ thermal comfort perception. In this paper, we studied the mutually dependent relationship between indoor climate experience and occupants’ comf...
Article
A one-year field measurement campaign was conducted in two healthcare facilities in China. Both the objective physical environment and subjective satisfactory survey data have been collected in inpatient and outpatient areas to evaluate the Indoor Environment Quality (IEQ) of Chinese hospitals. The standard compliance rate was utilized to evaluate...
Article
Human individual differences widely and markedly affect thermal comfort and should be carefully considered in the design and operation of the built environment. This paper aims to list and examine the magnitude and significance of individual difference in the preferred/neutral/comfort temperature through reviewing previous climate chamber and field...
Article
Internationally, buildings are a major contributor to carbon emissions. Despite significant advances in the technology and construction of energy-efficient buildings, in many cases a performance gap between designed and actual performance exists. While much research has investigated the drivers of the building energy performance gap – both static a...
Article
Of the six fundamental parameters in the classic heat balance model of human thermal comfort, metabolic rate is probably the most important and yet it is the most crudely assessed in both research and practice. Most studies in thermal comfort domain to date have relied on simple activity diaries to estimate metabolic rate. To better understand the...
Article
In this paper, a dynamic heat transfer model based on thermal-electrical analogy has been built to compare convective and radiative heating systems for intermittent heating. An experiment has been set up to validate the model we built. The RMS Error was within 0.5 °C, confirming the accuracy of the model. The validated model was then applied to com...
Article
There is still a gap in research on the impact of Chinese Green Building Three-Star evaluation standard on occupant satisfaction. This paper reports the results of a preliminary comparative analysis of the satisfaction levels of occupants in relation to the building overall, building performance and several indoor environment quality (IEQ) paramete...
Article
Recently green buildings are booming rapidly in China. In order to improve the performance of green buildings, energy consumption in 31 and indoor environment quality(IEQ) in 10 green office buildings are compared with common ones through energy data collection, physical parameters measurement and satisfaction survey. The results indicate that for...

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