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Cost- and Energy-Efficient Control Systems for Buildings

This project exploits high resolution data gathered in KTH Live-in Lab research test-beds through an advanced, modular and flexible monitoring set-up capable to acquire real-time data on indoor environmental quality and the involved energy flows including ground source heat pumps, photovoltaic panels, ventilation. It will provide an assessment of the inefficient energy use of common faulty systems and guidelines for cost-optimal design and for implementation of building monitoring and control systems.

Computer-generated image of the Live-In Lab [source: property developer Einar Mattsson]
Computer-generated image of the Live-In Lab [source: property developer Einar Mattsson]


Methods and demonstrations to move towards intelligent and smart buildings are needed. Monitoring data is currently collected without exploiting the inner potential for innovative solutions. This is typically due to, among other reasons, the lack of efficient and dedicated sensor network design and data structures.

What sensors is it necessary to install? How should the database be conveniently structured? What is the most cost-effective solution for smart monitoring and control one should adopt for a building?

Recommendations for a cost efficient implementation of monitoring and control systems depending on the building and the energy supply system characteristics are strongly necessary but not yet available as common practice.

Both new and existing buildings are lacking comprehensive guidelines and demonstrations about the impact on the energy use of faulty settings. Consequently, the opportunities for enabling the energy saving potential of ICT solutions are still locked and the system maintenance is also negatively affected.

Project description

In order to overcome these gaps and limitations, databases of monitored data with high resolution and reliable quality can lead to new valuable insights and the creation of new opportunities. Research test-beds offer unique resources to develop and test smart monitoring and control solutions that have a valuable impact on increasing the energy efficiency in the built environment.

This project will exploit the high resolution real-time data gathered in the KTH Live-in Lab research test-bed through an advanced sensor and data infrastructure in order to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of smart buildings. As a result, the operative definition of smart building will be enabled.

The project will exploit the existing sensors to identify common faulty settings in buildings’ ventilation and heating systems, estimating their impact on the energy use. Particular attention will be dedicated to the user experience, the impact of the users on the energy use and in visualization techniques to promote energy efficient behaviors.


Three building facilities will be used as implementation and prototype sites: the KTH Live-In Lab Testbed KTH, the Undervisning Hus and the neighborhood of Uppsala Backe. The first round of data analysis will be carried out in the Testbed KTH and Undervisning Hus; this will help identifying the room for improvement in both buildings and it will support the design of the ICT infrastructure in Botrygg’s Uppsala Backe.

Primary areas of investigation are:

  • Monitoring, Data analysis and Fault detection

  • Control Approach Evaluation

  • Analysis of Technical and Economic Opportunities

Aim and objectives

  • assess the quality of data from advanced monitoring systems
  • enhance existing features and improve the exploitation potential of existing databases
  • detect and identify the most common faulty settings in the heating and ventilation that are causing the systems to underperform and estimate the related energy waste;
  • test and implement of advanced and self-tuning control strategies;
  • showcase the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of ICT solutions to increase the efficient energy use in buildings and improve comfort


The Project aims at demonstrating cost effective solutions able to increase the system energy efficiency. The outcomes of the Projects will contribute to the reduction of the primary energy use in building sector and to

reduce the greenhouse emission. The Project will also increase the level of competitiveness for the Swedish building sector towards the challenge of sustainable and low energy buildings.

Time period:



M. Molinari, D. Rolando, J. A. Vogel. Kostnads- och energieffektiva styrsystem i byggnader, Kyla och Värme 2019

M. Molinari, D. Rolando. Digital twin of the Live-In Lab Testbed KTH: development and calibration , BuildSim 2020

D. Rolando, M. Molinari. Development of a comfort platform for user feedback: the experience of the KTH Live-In Lab , ICAE International Conference on Applied Energy, 2020

M. Molinari, J. A. Vogel, D. Rolando. Using Living Labs to tackle innovation bottlenecks: the KTH Live-In Lab case study , MITAB 2021

M. Molinari, D. Rolando, A. Lazzarotto. Energy and indoor environmental quality monitoring of a lecture building: preliminary results from the KTH Live-In Lab Testbed AH, MITAB 2022

K. Bäcklund, M. Molinari, P. Lundqvist, P. Karlsson, Showcasing the First Steps Towards a Digital Twin for Campus Environments, BuildSim Nordic 2022: 10th BuildSim Nordic conference and the 2nd International Nordic conference for IBPSA, Copenhagen, Denmark, 2022;  .

Rolando D, Mazzotti Pallard W, Molinari M. Long-Term Evaluation of Comfort, Indoor Air Quality and Energy Performance in Buildings: The Case of the KTH Live-In Lab Testbeds. Energies. 2022; 15(14):4955.

M. Farjadnia, A. Alanwar, M. U. B. Niazi, M. Molinari, K. H. Johansson, Robust Data-Driven Predictive Control of Unknown Nonlinear Systems using Reachability Analysis. European Control Conference, ECC2023, Bucharest, Romania, 2023.

A. Fontan, M. Farjadnia, J. Llewellyn, C. Katzeff, M. Molinari, V. Cvetkovic, K. H. Johansson, Social interactions for a sustainable lifestyle: The design of an experimental case study, 22nd World Congress of the International Federation of Automatic Control, IFAC2023, Yokohama, Japan, 2023; .

M. Farjadnia, A. Fontan, A. Russo, K. H. Johansson, M. Molinari, What influences occupants’ behavior in residential buildings? An experimental study on window operation in the KTH Live-In Lab, 7th IEEE Conference on Control Technology and Applications, CCTA2023, Bridgetown, Barbados, 2023; doi: 10.1109/CCTA54093.2023.10253188 .

M. Molinari, J. A. Vogel, D. Rolando, P. Lundquist, Using living labs to tackle innovation bottlenecks: the KTH Live-In Lab case study, Applied Energy, Volume 338, 2023; .

M.Farjadnia, A. Alanwar, M. Umar B. Niazi, M. Molinari, K. H. Johansson, Robust data-driven predictive control of unknown nonlinear systems using reachability analysis, European Journal of Control, Volume 74, November 2023 .

K. Bäcklund, M. Molinari, P. Lundqvist B. Palm, Building Occupants, Their Behavior and the Resulting Impact on Energy Use in Campus Buildings: A Literature Review with Focus on Smart Building Systems, Energies 2023, 16(17), 6104; .

K. Walther, M. Molinari, K. Voss, The role of HVAC controls in building Digital Twins: lessons learned from demonstration buildings with an application to air handling units, Building Simulation 2023, 18th IBPSA International Conference and Exhibition, Shanghai, China, 2023; .

K. Bäcklund, M. Molinari, P. Lundqvist, In Search for Untapped Energy-Saving Potential in Green and Smart Higher Educational Buildings—An Empirical Case Study Involving the Building Occupants, Buildings 2023, 13(12), 3103 .

K. Bäcklund, P. Lundqvist, M. Molinari, Showcasing a Digital Twin for Higher Educational Buildings: Developing the Concept Towards Human Centricity, Frontiers in Built Environment, Volume 10, 2024, doi: 10.3389/fbuil.2024.1347451

Project contact persons

Project Leader

Project Researcher

Funded by:

Swedish Energy Agency within the E2B2 research program

Collaborating Partners

Botrygg AB

Akademiska Hus AB

Tovenco AB



Main Financer

This project is financed by the Swedish Energy Agency (Energimyndigheten) under the E2B2 program.

PARMENIDES – Plug & plAy EneRgy ManagEmeNt for hybriD Energy Storage
HYSTORE - Hybrid services from advanced thermal energy storage systems
Open-source models for holistic building energy system design at scale
Tank to Grave Management of new Low-GWP Refrigerants (Hantering av nya låg-GWP köldmedier från installation till destruktion)
Novel tool and guidelines for designing ground source heat pumps (GSHPs) in densely populated areas
Data driven lab for building energy systems
Long-term performance measurement of GSHP systems serving commercial, institutional and multi-family buildings
Smart Control Strategies for Heat Pump Systems
Open-source models for holistic building energy system design at scale
Control systems for hybrid solutions based on biomass fueled Stirling engines, solar and wind for rural electrification
Prosumer-Centric Communication for Solar PV Diffusion (completed)
Towards Sustainable (Fossil-free) Heating System in Small Residential Buildings
Solar energy and ground source heat pumps for Swedish multi-family housing (completed)
Solar photovoltaic systems in Swedish cooperative housing (completed)
Smart Control Strategies for Heat Pump Systems (completed)
Creating and Understanding Smart Innovation in Cities
Building heating solutions in China
Accelerating innovation in buildings
High-Resolution GIS District Heating Source-Load Mapping
Digitalization and IoT technologies for Heat Pump systems
Sustainable combined systems for heating of buildings (completed)
Cost- and Energy-Efficient Control Systems for Buildings
Situation of Opportunity in the Growth and Change of three Stockholm City Districts (completed)
Wuxi Sino-Swedish Eco-City Project (completed)
Smart Renovation Strategies for Sustainable Electrification
Future Secondary Fluids for indirect refrigeration systems
Smart Fault Detection and Diagnosis for Heat Pumps
Performance indicators for energy efficient supermarket buildings
Magnetic Refrigeration
High-Resolution GIS District Heating Source-Load Mapping
Smart Solar Hybrid Solutions for Sustainable European Buildings (completed)
Building state-of-the-art (SotA) supermarket: Putting theory into practice
Efficient utilization of industrial waste heat by low temperature heat driven power cycles – an integrated approach for Swedish Industry
Cooperation between Supermarkets and Real Estate Owners; Energy Efficiency and Business Models
Digitalization and IoT technologies for Heat Pump systems
Capacity control in Heat Pump systems
Alternative secondary fluids
Functional surface coatings for energy efficient heat pumps
Two-phase flow in flat channels
Two phase heat transfer & pressure drop with new environment friendly refrigerants in minichannels (completed)
Numerical Study on flow boiling in micro/mini channels (completed)
Distributed Cold Storages in District Cooling
Integrating Latent Heat Storage into Residential Heating Systems
Simulation of temperature distribution in borehole thermal storages supported by fiber optic temperature measurements (completed)
Solar energy and ground source heat pumps for Swedish multi-family housing (completed)
Neutrons for Heat Storage, NHS, (completed)
4D Monitoring of BTES (completed)
Aquifer Thermal Energy Storage (completed)
Deep Borehole Heat Exchanger (completed)
Combined Heat and Power plants in combination with borehole thermal energy storage (completed)
Improved borehole technology for Geothermal Heat Pumps development (completed)
Compact Minichannel Latent Energy Storage for Air Related Cold Storage Applications
Building heating solutions in China
Toward Sustainable (Fossil-free) Heating System in Small Residential Buildings
Renewable Energy Park, RE-Park (completed)
Efficient use of energy wells for heat pumps (completed)
Efficient design of geothermal heating systems (completed)
SPF (completed)