Zhiang Zhang

Assistant Professor (Lecturer) in Building Services Engineering and Building Physics

Architecture and Built Environment / Faculty of Science and Engineering
Staff Profile Portrait Image



Room 401, Sir Peter Mansfield Building


University of Nottingham Ningbo China


199 Taikang East Road, Ningbo, 315100, China


+86 (0) 574 8818 0000 (ext. 8033)


BEng (Hons), University of Nottingham

M.S., Carnegie Mellon University

Ph.D., Carnegie Mellon University


Dr. Zhang has international and interdisciplinary experience in both building technologies and data science. He obtained his Bachelor's degree in the field of building services engineering at the University of Nottingham. After that, he completed his Ph.D. with a focus on reinforcement learning-based HVAC control from Carnegie Mellon University in 2019. During his Ph.D., he was also a visiting researcher at the National University of Singapore, where he conducted research on Bayesian calibration of building energy models. Before joining UNNC in 2020, Dr. Zhang worked as a senior algorithm engineer in Alibaba Cloud. In Alibaba, he was responsible for the development of the data intelligence algorithms for city-level energy systems, including district heating/cooling systems and water systems.

Currently, Dr. Zhang’s research focuses on the fusion of artificial intelligence and building energy systems. His research covers various aspects of artificial intelligence, including deep learning, reinforcement learning, evolutionary algorithm, Bayesian methods, etc. In addition, he is also specialized in green/healthy building certifications, such as LEED, BREEAM, and WELL.


  • Architectural Engineering Design 1 (ABEE1025)
  • Research Project (ABEE3023)

Research interests

  • Learning-based adaptive control for building energy systems
  • Building energy model-based control and operation
  • Digital-twin for HVAC systems via BIM/BEM fusion
  • Occupant-oriented building for human comfort and wellbeing

Honorary positions

Academic Services

  • Reviewer:
    • Applied Energy (Journal of Elesvier)
    • Intelligent Systems (Journal of IEEE)
    • Building Engineering (Journal of Elesvier)
    • Engineering Applications of Artificial Intelligence (Journal of Elesvier)
    • ASHRAE/IBPSA-USA Building Performance Analysis Conference and SimBuild
  • Conference Organizer
    • National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Coordination Network (RCN): The Predictive Modeling Network for Sustainable Human-Building Ecosystem (SHBE) Workshop VIII (May 2018, Pittsburgh, PA, USA)

Awards / Patents

Awards Summary

Outstanding Paper Award at the 7th International Building Physics Conference, 2018 (one of the six out of over 200+ papers)


Journal Publications:

Zhang, Zhiang, Adrian Chong, et al. 2019, “Whole Building Energy Model for HVAC Optimal Control: A Practical Framework based on Deep Reinforcement Learning.” Energy and Buildings, 199:472-490 (IF: 4.867)

Zhong, Xuyang, Zhiang Zhang, et al. 2020, “Comprehensive evaluation of energy and indoorPM2.5-exposure performance of residential window and roller blind control strategies.” Energy and Buildings, 223:110-206 (IF: 4.867)

Conference presentations

Conference Publications:

Zhang, Zhiang, Khee Poh Lam. 2018. “Practical Implementation and Evaluation of Deep Reinforcement Learning Control for a Radiant Heating System.” In 2018 Association of Computing Machinery-BuildSys, Shenzhen, China. (CORE Level A conference in computing disciplines)

Zhang, Zhiang, Adrian Chong, et al. 2018. “A Deep Reinforcement Learning Approach to Using Whole Building Energy Model for HVAC Optimal Control.” In ASHRAE/IBPSA-USA Building Performance Analysis Conference and SimBuild, Chicago, IL, USA.

Zhang, Zhiang, Chenlu Zhang, Khee Poh Lam. 2018. “A Deep Reinforcement Learning Method for Model-based Optimal Control of HVAC Systems.” In the 7th International Building Physics Conference, Syracuse, NY, USA

Zhang, Chenlu, Zhiang Zhang, Vivian Loftness. 2019. “Bio-Sensing and Reinforcement Learning Approaches for Occupant-Centric Building Control.” In ASHRAE Annual Conference, Kansas City, MO, USA.

Zhang, Zhiang, Khee Poh Lam. 2017. “An Implementation Framework of Model Predictive Control for HVAC Systems: A Case Study of EnergyPlus Model-Based Predictive Control.” In ASHRAE Annual Conference, Long Beach, CA, USA.

Lu, Siliang, Erica Cochran, Zhiang Zhang, et al. 2020. “Energy Co-Simulation of the Hybrid Cooling Control with Synthetic Thermal Preference Distribution.” In 2020 Symposium on Simulation in Architecture and Urban Design (SimAUD), Vienna, Austria.