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Title: A simulation approach to estimate energy savings potential of occupant behavior measures

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Journal Article: Publisher's Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Energy and Buildings
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 136; Journal Issue: C; Related Information: CHORUS Timestamp: 2018-02-02 22:06:06; Journal ID: ISSN 0378-7788
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Citation Formats

Sun, Kaiyu, and Hong, Tianzhen. A simulation approach to estimate energy savings potential of occupant behavior measures. Netherlands: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.1016/j.enbuild.2016.12.010.
Sun, Kaiyu, & Hong, Tianzhen. A simulation approach to estimate energy savings potential of occupant behavior measures. Netherlands. doi:10.1016/j.enbuild.2016.12.010.
Sun, Kaiyu, and Hong, Tianzhen. Wed . "A simulation approach to estimate energy savings potential of occupant behavior measures". Netherlands. doi:10.1016/j.enbuild.2016.12.010.
title = {A simulation approach to estimate energy savings potential of occupant behavior measures},
author = {Sun, Kaiyu and Hong, Tianzhen},
abstractNote = {},
doi = {10.1016/j.enbuild.2016.12.010},
journal = {Energy and Buildings},
number = C,
volume = 136,
place = {Netherlands},
year = {Wed Feb 01 00:00:00 EST 2017},
month = {Wed Feb 01 00:00:00 EST 2017}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record at 10.1016/j.enbuild.2016.12.010

Citation Metrics:
Cited by: 8works
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Web of Science

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  • To improve energy efficiency—during new buildings design or during a building retrofit—evaluating the energy savings potential of energy conservation measures (ECMs) is a critical task. In building retrofits, occupant behavior significantly impacts building energy use and is a leading factor in uncertainty when determining the effectiveness of retrofit ECMs. Current simulation-based assessment methods simplify the representation of occupant behavior by using a standard or representative set of static and homogeneous assumptions ignoring the dynamics, stochastics, and diversity of occupant's energy-related behavior in buildings. The simplification contributes to significant gaps between the simulated and measured actual energy performance of buildings. Thismore » paper presents a framework for quantifying the impact of occupant behaviors on ECM energy savings using building performance simulation. During the first step of the study, three occupant behavior styles (austerity, normal, and wasteful) were defined to represent different levels of energy consciousness of occupants regarding their interactions with building energy systems (HVAC, windows, lights and plug-in equipment). Next, a simulation workflow was introduced to determine a range of the ECM energy savings. Then, guidance was provided to interpret the range of ECM savings to support ECM decision making. Finally, a pilot study was performed in a real building to demonstrate the application of the framework. Simulation results show that the impact of occupant behaviors on ECM savings vary with the type of ECM. Occupant behavior minimally affects energy savings for ECMs that are technology-driven (the relative savings differ by less than 2%) and have little interaction with the occupants; for ECMs with strong occupant interaction, such as the use of zonal control variable refrigerant flow system and natural ventilation, energy savings are significantly affected by occupant behavior (the relative savings differ by up to 20%). Finally, the study framework provides a novel, holistic approach to assessing the uncertainty of ECM energy savings related to occupant behavior, enabling stakeholders to understand and assess the risk of adopting energy efficiency technologies for new and existing buildings.« less
  • In current building performance simulation programs, occupant presence and interactions with building systems are over-simplified and less indicative of real world scenarios, contributing to the discrepancies between simulated and actual energy use in buildings. Simulation results are normally presented using various types of charts. However, using those charts, it is difficult to visualize and communicate the importance of occupants’ behavior to building energy performance. This study introduced a new approach to simulating and visualizing energy-related occupant behavior in office buildings. First, the Occupancy Simulator was used to simulate the occupant presence and movement and generate occupant schedules for each spacemore » as well as for each occupant. Then an occupant behavior functional mockup unit (obFMU) was used to model occupant behavior and analyze their impact on building energy use through co-simulation with EnergyPlus. Finally, an agent-based model built upon AnyLogic was applied to visualize the simulation results of the occupant movement and interactions with building systems, as well as the related energy performance. A case study using a small office building in Miami, FL was presented to demonstrate the process and application of the Occupancy Simulator, the obFMU and EnergyPlus, and the AnyLogic module in simulation and visualization of energy-related occupant behaviors in office buildings. Furthermore, the presented approach provides a new detailed and visual way for policy makers, architects, engineers and building operators to better understand occupant energy behavior and their impact on energy use in buildings, which can improve the design and operation of low energy buildings.« less
  • Cited by 101