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Intelligent buildings operation

Image of a tall building’s window façade with a superimposed cobweb design of linked bubbles, representing the concept of artificial intelligence.

We collaborate with various government departments to help identify and develop suitable pathways to reduce the energy consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of the Canadian commercial and institutional buildings sector. These activities have a significant impact on the transition towards a low carbon, clean growth economy, and on reducing the energy dependency of Canadians.

Our areas of focus

Our team develops and demonstrates advanced building operation, control, and energy load management methods. Our work aims at enabling buildings to achieve and maintain high levels of energy efficiency, to play a proactive role in the energy grid, and to dynamically anticipate changes and adjust operation to minimize energy use and peak electrical loads. Our activities focus on extracting knowledge from building operational data in order to develop these strategies.

To address these challenges and achieve our vision, our research and development (R&D) activities focus on the development of:

  • methods to monitor building energy efficiency and automatically detect periods of inefficient operation
  • model-based predictive controls that use trends of energy consumption and expected changes in environmental conditions and occupancy in order to adapt and optimize building operation
  • methods to improve building and community energy flexibility, and to enable an optimal response to grid events and requirements

Projects underway at CanmetENERGY in Varennes

Our Centre is currently conducting the following projects to support the decarbonization of the Canadian buildings sector:

Advanced controls for reducing the usage of natural gas for space heating
Advanced operation and controls for reducing electrical peak loads
Optimal operation of district energy systems (DES) in the federal building stock
Automatic monitoring and improvement of systems energy efficiency
Building energy flexibility: optimization of energy storage, consumption and generation

Our software tools for optimal building performance

CanMETEO is a free software tool created to facilitate the implementation of weather forecasts in building operation.

PV Perform Mod is a free software tool that detects faults in order to support operators in monitoring and maximizing photovoltaic (PV) system performance.


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Featured item

Aerial view of the CanmetENERGY research centre in Varennes, Quebec.

Model-based predictive control (MPC) for reducing natural gas consumption

Our team developed and implemented an automated MPC strategy to reduce the usage of natural gas for space heating at the CanmetENERGY building in Varennes. Natural gas usage and associated GHG emissions have been reduced by 22%, while maintaining occupant comfort and similar electricity costs.

Read the full article on the MPC strategy

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