Urban building energy performance prediction and retrofit analysis using data-driven machine learning approach

Usman Ali, Sobia Bano, Mohammad Haris Shamsi, Divyanshu Sood, Cathal Hoare, Wangda Zuo, Neil Hewitt, James O'Donnell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Stakeholders such as urban planners and energy policymakers use building energy performance modeling and analysis to develop strategic sustainable energy plans with the aim of reducing energy consumption and emissions from the built environment. However, inconsistent energy data and the lack of scalable building models create a gap between building energy modeling and traditional planning practices. An alternative approach is to conduct a large-scale energy usage survey, which is time-consuming. Similarly, existing studies rely on traditional machine learning or statistical approaches for calculating large-scale energy performance. This paper proposes a solution that employs a data-driven machine learning approach to predict the energy performance of urban residential buildings, using both ensemble-based machine learning and end-use demand segregation methods. The proposed methodology consists of five steps: data collection, archetype development, physics-based parametric modeling, machine learning modeling, and urban building energy performance analysis. The devised methodology is tested on the Irish residential building stock and generates a synthetic building dataset of one million buildings through the parametric modeling of 19 identified vital variables for four residential building archetypes. As a part of the machine learning modeling process, the study implemented an end-use demand segregation method, including heating, lighting, equipment, photovoltaic, and hot water, to predict the energy performance of buildings at an urban scale. Furthermore, the model's performance is enhanced by employing an ensemble-based machine learning approach, achieving 91% accuracy compared to the traditional approach's 76%. Accurate prediction of building energy performance enables stakeholders, including energy policymakers and urban planners, to make informed decisions when planning large-scale retrofit measures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number113768
JournalEnergy and Buildings
StatePublished - Jan 15 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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