PEAR – Test facility for energy efficient automation and control of buildings

The energy demand calculated in the design phase often differs from measured values in the actual building operation. This projects reviews building automation and operation by presenting a solution how to assess energy efficiency of control strategies in the fields of air conditioning systems, concrete core activation and free cooling. The results are implemented in the demonstration building "Post am Rochus".

Short Description




Starting point / motivation

Building appliances are designed according to the state of the art and with regard to the maximum expected load (especially heating and cooling). This maximum load, however, is only required a few hours per year, leaving the system most of the time running in part-load. Efficiency of part-load operation strongly depends on the expertise and experience of the design team. The research project PEAR examines, evaluates and optimizes energy-efficient building systems in terms of their control strategies with the primary objective of significantly reducing the commissioning phase from 1-2 years to 3 months as well as guaranteeing a consistently energy-optimized operation while maintaining comfort. The acceptance of new technologies is largely dependent on user acceptance; however, user satisfaction needs to remain on the same level (or even increase) to ensure a successful deployment.

Contents and goals

The project will develop a new hardware-in-the-loop method, which will be tested in the demonstration building “Post am Rochus”. Hardware-in-the-loop connects building automation hardware with a simulation environment in order to analyze and optimize the interaction between controls and (simulated) energy systems.

The main project objectives are:

  • The development of intelligent control strategies for an efficient operation of part load conditions in complex building systems with a focus on cooling and humidity control using dynamic building and system simulation.

  • The distribution of the methodological approach for the development of intelligent control strategies for complex building services using hardware-in-the-loop.

  • The possibility to monitor research results in the context of an initial field test has a significant added value to trigger further research questions.

  • The development of a monitoring and evaluation concept for validation of the research results.


The general approach and the intended methodology of the project are listed in the following:

  • Definition of requirements. System requirements, building controls, consideration of user behaviour, use cases automatic fault detection and control strategies

  • Definition control strategies: desk research and design of HVAC components, system modelling

  • Hardware-in-the-Loop: model development, implementation, validation and recommendations

  • Monitoring: development of monitoring concept, data collection and analysis, data interpretation and documentation of results

Expected results

The research-intensive approach delivers essential knowledge and engineering fundamentals how building operation can be made more energy efficient. On the one hand, the applicability of the developed concepts is demonstrated in the test building "Post am Rochus" and on the other hand, replicability of results to other buildings is given by the project’s generic approach.

As a project within the funding programme "Stadt der Zukunft" research activities of PEAR aim at supporting and stimulating further R&D and demonstration projects in Austria with a focus on energy-efficient building operation. Future development projects to identify solutions for assessing the energy efficiency of control strategies in complex technical building systems are supported, the confidence in dealing with sustainable technologies improves, and the willingness to corresponding investments increases.

Project Partners

Project management

AIT Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH, Energy Department

Project or cooperation partners

  • Österreichische Post AG

  • teamgmi Ingenieurbüro GmbH

  • IBO Österreichisches Institut für Bauen und Ökologie GmbH

  • BPS Engineering Techn. Büro z Planung Haustechnischer Anlagen GmbH

Contact Address

AIT Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH, Energy Department
Katharina Eder
Giefinggasse 2
A-1210 Vienna
Tel.: +43 50550-6098
Fax: +43 50550-6613