Scalable distributed sensor fault diagnosis for smart buildings

Panayiotis M. Papadopoulos*, Vasso Reppa, Marios M. Polycarpou, Christos G. Panayiotou

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
26 Downloads (Pure)


The enormous energy use of the building sector and the requirements for indoor living quality that aim to improve occupants'productivity and health, prioritize Smart Buildings as an emerging technology. The Heating, Ventilation and Air-Conditioning ( HVAC ) system is considered one of the most critical and essential parts in buildings since it consumes the largest amount of energy and is responsible for humans comfort. Due to the intermittent operation of HVAC systems, faults are more likely to occur, possibly increasing eventually building's energy consumption and - or downgrading indoor living quality. The complexity and large scale nature of HVAC systems complicate the diagnosis of faults in a centralized framework. This paper presents a distributed intelligent fault diagnosis algorithm for detecting and isolating multiple sensor faults in large-scale HVAC systems. Modeling the HVAC system as a network of interconnected subsystems allows the design of a set of distributed sensor fault diagnosis agents capable of isolating multiple sensor faults by applying a combinatorial decision logic and diagnostic reasoning. The performance of the proposed method is investigated with respect to robustness, fault detectability and scalability. Simulations are used to illustrate the effectiveness of the proposed method in the presence of multiple sensor faults applied to a 83-zone HVAC system and to evaluate the sensitivity of the method with respect to sensor noise variance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)638-655
JournalIEEE/CAA Journal of Automatica Sinica
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository 'You share, we take care!' - Taverne project
Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • Fault diagnosis
  • HVAC
  • Buildings
  • Autoregressive processes
  • Analytical models
  • Heat pumps
  • Water heating


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