This paper presents a model predictive control (MPC) algorithm designed for the cooling system of a small commercial building under a time-dependent electricity price profile. The proposed approach includes a problem formulation in terms of cooling power, a variable-length prediction horizon and the consideration of the equipment duty cycle as a constraint in the optimization algorithm. The cooling system is equipped with an ice bank for thermal energy storage. A simple linear building thermal model is used to calculate the required amount of cooling power to maintain thermal comfort. The MPC algorithm uses this information to find the optimal operating points for the chiller and the ice bank to minimize the electric energy cost. The results of the MPC algorithm are compared against those of the reactive rule-based control algorithm currently in use in the building.

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