Contaminant event monitoring in multi-zone buildings using the state-space method

M. P. Michaelides*, V. Reppa, M. Christodoulou, C. G. Panayiotou, M. M. Polycarpou

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


The dispersion of contaminants from sources (events) inside a building can compromise the indoor air quality and influence the occupants' comfort, health, productivity and safety. Such events could be the result of an accident, faulty equipment or a planned attack. Under these safety-critical conditions, immediate event detection should be guaranteed and the proper actions should be taken to ensure the safety of the people. In this paper, we consider an event as a fault in the process that disturbs the normal system operation. This places the problem of contaminant event monitoring in the fault diagnosis framework of detection and isolation. A main contribution of this work is the development of the state-space method, based on multi-zone building models, that enables the use of advanced fault diagnosis tools for contaminant event monitoring. Specifically, in this paper, we develop estimator schemes with adaptive thresholds for the detection and isolation of a single contaminant source under conditions of noise and modeling uncertainty. We demonstrate our proposed formulation using a 2-zone illustration example and a more realistic 14-zone building setting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)140-152
JournalBuilding and Environment
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Adaptive threshold
  • Contaminant event monitoring
  • Fault detection
  • Fault isolation
  • Multi-zone models
  • State-space method


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