Control Description Language

Publication Type

Conference Paper

Date Published




Properly designed and implemented building control sequences can significantly reduce energy consumption. However, there is currently no process with supporting tools that allows the assessment of the performance of different control sequences, export the control sequences in a vendor-neutral format for cost estimation and for implementation on a building automation system through machine-to-machine translation, and reuse the sequences for verification during commissioning.

This paper describes a Control Description Language (CDL) that we developed to create such a process. For CDL, we selected a subset of Modelica that allows a convenient representation of control sequences, simulation of the control sequence coupled to a building energy model, and development of translators from CDL to building automation systems. To aid in the development of such translators, we created a translator from CDL to a JSON intermediate format. In future work, we seek to work with building control providers to develop translators from CDL to commercial building automation systems.

Through a case study, we show that CDL suffices for simulation-based performance assessment of two ASHRAE-published control sequences for a variable air volume flow system of an office building. Moreover, the case study showed that merely due to differences in the control sequences, annual HVAC energy use was reduced by 30%. This difference is larger than the accuracy required when comparing different HVAC systems, thereby questioning the current practice of idealizing control sequences in building energy simulations, and demonstrating the importance of ensuring that the control sequence used during design simulations corresponds to the control sequence that will be implemented in the real building


1st American Modelica Conference

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