Abstract: Global buildings account for about 30% of the total energy consumption and carbon emission, raising severe energy and environmental concerns. Therefore, it is significant and urgent to develop novel smart building energy management (SBEM) technologies for the advance of energy efficient and green buildings. However, it is a nontrivial task due to the following challenges. First, it is generally difficult to develop an explicit building thermal dynamics model that is both accurate and efficient enough for building control. Second, there are many uncertain system parameters (e.g., renewable generation output, outdoor temperature, and the number of occupants). Third, there are many spatially and temporally coupled operational constraints. Fourth, building energy optimization problems can not be solved in real time by traditional methods when they have extremely large solution spaces. Fifthly, traditional building energy management methods have respective applicable premises, which means that they have low versatility when confronted with varying building environments. With the rapid development of Internet of Things technology and computation capability, artificial intelligence technology find its significant competence in control and optimization. As a general artificial intelligence technology, deep reinforcement learning (DRL) is promising to address the above challenges. Notably, the recent years have seen the surge of DRL for SBEM. However, there lacks a systematic overview of different DRL methods for SBEM. To fill the gap, this article provides a comprehensive review of DRL for SBEM from the perspective of system scale. In particular, we identify the existing unresolved issues and point out possible future research directions.
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