Chapter 2. Introduction

This user manual explains how to install, use and further develop the BCVTB version 1.6.0.

The Building Controls Virtual Test Bed (BCVTB) is a software environment that allows users to couple different simulation programs for co-simulation. For example, the BCVTB allows the simulation of a building and HVAC system in EnergyPlus and the control logic in Modelica or in MATLAB/Simulink, while exchanging data between the software as they simulate. A system model for such a coupled simulation is shown in Figure 2.1.

Figure 2.1.  System model that links EnergyPlus with Simulink.

System model that links EnergyPlus with Simulink.

The BCVTB is based on the Ptolemy II software environment that has been developed by the University of California at Berkeley. The BCVTB is aimed at expert users of simulation that hit limitations of existing simulation programs.

Programs that are currently linked to the BCVTB are

In addition, any executable can be called from the BCVTB at each time step of the BCVTB system model. This allows, for example, the use of an external program with communication through its command line interface or through text files.

In addition to using programs that are coupled to Ptolemy II, Ptolemy II's graphical modeling environment can be used to define models of control systems, models of physical devices, models of communication systems or it can be used for post-processing, real-time visualization and data exchange with databases.