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Author ORCID ID is 0000000318869137
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  1. We present that occupancy information enables robust and flexible control of heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems in buildings. In large spaces, multiple HVAC terminals are typically installed to provide cooperative services for different thermal zones, and the occupancy information determines the cooperation among terminals. However, a person count at room-level does not adequately optimize HVAC system operation due to the movement of occupants within the room that creates uneven load distribution. Without accurate knowledge of the occupants’ spatial distribution, the uneven distribution of occupants often results in under-cooling/heating or over-cooling/heating in some thermal zones. Therefore, the lack of high-resolutionmore » occupancy distribution is often perceived as a bottleneck for future improvements to HVAC operation efficiency. To fill this gap, this study proposes a multi-feature k-Nearest-Neighbors (k-NN) classification algorithm to extract occupancy distribution through reliable, low-cost Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) networks. An on-site experiment was conducted in a typical office of an institutional building to demonstrate the proposed methods, and the experiment outcomes of three case studies were examined to validate detection accuracy. One method based on City Block Distance (CBD) was used to measure the distance between detected occupancy distribution and ground truth and assess the results of occupancy distribution. Finally, the results show the accuracy when CBD = 1 is over 71.4% and the accuracy when CBD = 2 can reach up to 92.9%.« less
  2. We present that urban-scale building energy modeling (UBEM)—using building modeling to understand how a group of buildings will perform together—is attracting increasing attention in the energy modeling field. Unlike modeling a single building, which will use detailed information, UBEM generally uses existing building stock data consisting of high-level building information. This study evaluated the impacts of three zoning methods and the use of floor multipliers on the simulated energy use of 940 office and retail buildings in three climate zones using City Building Energy Saver. The first zoning method, OneZone, creates one thermal zone per floor using the target building'smore » footprint. The second zoning method, AutoZone, splits the building's footprint into perimeter and core zones. A novel, pixel-based automatic zoning algorithm is developed for the AutoZone method. The third zoning method, Prototype, uses the U.S. Department of Energy's reference building prototype shapes. Results show that simulated source energy use of buildings with the floor multiplier are marginally higher by up to 2.6% than those modeling each floor explicitly, which take two to three times longer to run. Compared with the AutoZone method, the OneZone method results in decreased thermal loads and less equipment capacities: 15.2% smaller fan capacity, 11.1% smaller cooling capacity, 11.0% smaller heating capacity, 16.9% less heating loads, and 7.5% less cooling loads. Source energy use differences range from -7.6% to 5.1%. When comparing the Prototype method with the AutoZone method, source energy use differences range from -12.1% to 19.0%, and larger ranges of differences are found for the thermal loads and equipment capacities. This study demonstrated that zoning methods have a significant impact on the simulated energy use of UBEM. Finally, one recommendation resulting from this study is to use the AutoZone method with floor multiplier to obtain accurate results while balancing the simulation run time for UBEM.« less
    Cited by 2
  3. This study presents results from an interdisciplinary survey assessing contextual and behavioral factors driving occupants’ interaction with building and systems in offices located across three different Mediterranean climates in Turin (Northern), Perugia (Central), and Rende (Southern) Italy. The survey instrument is grounded in an interdisciplinary framework that bridges the gap between building physics and social science environments on the energy- and comfort-related human-building interaction in the workspace. Outcomes of the survey questionnaire provide insights into four key learning objectives: (1) individual occupant's motivational drivers regarding interaction with shared building environmental controls (such as adjustable thermostats, operable windows, blinds and shades,more » and artificial lighting), (2) group dynamics such as perceived social norms, attitudes, and intention to share controls, (3) occupant perception of the ease of use and knowledge of how to operate control systems, and (4) occupant-perceived comfort, satisfaction, and productivity. The study attempts to identify climatic, cultural, and socio-demographic influencing factors, as well as to establish the validity of the survey instrument and robustness of outcomes for future studies. Also, the paper aims at illustrating why and how social science insights can bring innovative knowledge into the adoption of building technologies in shared contexts, thus enhancing perceived environmental satisfaction and effectiveness of personal indoor climate control in office settings and impacting office workers’ productivity and reduced operational energy costs.« less
  4. Buildings in cities consume 30–70% of total primary energy, and improving building energy efficiency is one of the key strategies towards sustainable urbanization. Urban building energy models (UBEM) can support city managers to evaluate and prioritize energy conservation measures (ECMs) for investment and the design of incentive and rebate programs. This paper presents the retrofit analysis feature of City Building Energy Saver (CityBES) to automatically generate and simulate UBEM using EnergyPlus based on cities’ building datasets and user-selected ECMs. CityBES is a new open web-based tool to support city-scale building energy efficiency strategic plans and programs. The technical details ofmore » using CityBES for UBEM generation and simulation are introduced, including the workflow, key assumptions, and major databases. Also presented is a case study that analyzes the potential retrofit energy use and energy cost savings of five individual ECMs and two measure packages for 940 office and retail buildings in six city districts in northeast San Francisco, United States. The results show that: (1) all five measures together can save 23–38% of site energy per building; (2) replacing lighting with light-emitting diode lamps and adding air economizers to existing heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems are most cost-effective with an average payback of 2.0 and 4.3 years, respectively; and (3) it is not economical to upgrade HVAC systems or replace windows in San Francisco due to the city's mild climate and minimal cooling and heating loads. Furthermore, the CityBES retrofit analysis feature does not require users to have deep knowledge of building systems or technologies for the generation and simulation of building energy models, which helps overcome major technical barriers for city managers and their consultants to adopt UBEM.« less
    Cited by 10Full Text Available
  5. Small- and medium-sized commercial buildings owners and utility managers often look for opportunities for energy cost savings through energy efficiency and energy waste minimization. However, they currently lack easy access to low-cost tools that help interpret the massive amount of data needed to improve understanding of their energy use behaviors. Benchmarking is one of the techniques used in energy audits to identify which buildings are priorities for an energy analysis. Traditional energy performance indicators, such as the energy use intensity (annual energy per unit of floor area), consider only the total annual energy consumption, lacking consideration of the fluctuation ofmore » energy use behavior over time, which reveals the time of use information and represents distinct energy use behaviors during different time spans. To fill the gap, this study developed a general statistical method using 24-hour electric load shape benchmarking to compare a building or business/tenant space against peers. Specifically, the study developed new forms of benchmarking metrics and data analysis methods to infer the energy performance of a building based on its load shape. We first performed a data experiment with collected smart meter data using over 2,000 small- and medium-sized businesses in California. We then conducted a cluster analysis of the source data, and determined and interpreted the load shape features and parameters with peer group analysis. Finally, we implemented the load shape benchmarking feature in an open-access web-based toolkit (the Commercial Building Energy Saver) to provide straightforward and practical recommendations to users. The analysis techniques were generic and flexible for future datasets of other building types and in other utility territories.« less
  6. Ice-based thermal energy storage (TES) systems can shift peak cooling demand and reduce operational energy costs (with time-of-use rates) in commercial buildings. The accurate prediction of the cooling load, and the optimal control strategy for managing the charging and discharging of a TES system, are two critical elements to improving system performance and achieving energy cost savings. This study utilizes data-driven analytics and modeling to holistically understand the operation of an ice–based TES system in a shopping mall, calculating the system’s performance using actual measured data from installed meters and sensors. Results show that there is significant savings potential whenmore » the current operating strategy is improved by appropriately scheduling the operation of each piece of equipment of the TES system, as well as by determining the amount of charging and discharging for each day. A novel optimal control strategy, determined by an optimization algorithm of Sequential Quadratic Programming, was developed to minimize the TES system’s operating costs. Three heuristic strategies were also investigated for comparison with our proposed strategy, and the results demonstrate the superiority of our method to the heuristic strategies in terms of total energy cost savings. Specifically, the optimal strategy yields energy costs of up to 11.3% per day and 9.3% per month compared with current operational strategies. A one-day-ahead hourly load prediction was also developed using machine learning algorithms, which facilitates the adoption of the developed data analytics and optimization of the control strategy in a real TES system operation.« less
  7. Occupancy is an important factor driving building performance. Static and homogeneous occupant schedules, commonly used in building performance simulation, contribute to issues such as performance gaps between simulated and measured energy use in buildings. Stochastic occupancy models have been recently developed and applied to better represent spatial and temporal diversity of occupants in buildings. However, there is very limited evaluation of the usability and accuracy of these models. This study used measured occupancy data from a real office building to evaluate the performance of an agent-based occupancy simulation model: the Occupancy Simulator. The occupancy patterns of various occupant types weremore » first derived from the measured occupant schedule data using statistical analysis. Then the performance of the simulation model was evaluated and verified based on (1) whether the distribution of observed occupancy behavior patterns follows the theoretical ones included in the Occupancy Simulator, and (2) whether the simulator can reproduce a variety of occupancy patterns accurately. Results demonstrated the feasibility of applying the Occupancy Simulator to simulate a range of occupancy presence and movement behaviors for regular types of occupants in office buildings, and to generate stochastic occupant schedules at the room and individual occupant levels for building performance simulation. For future work, model validation is recommended, which includes collecting and using detailed interval occupancy data of all spaces in an office building to validate the simulated occupant schedules from the Occupancy Simulator.« less
    Cited by 13Full Text Available
  8. Occupant behavior has significant impacts on building energy performance and occupant comfort. However, occupant behavior is not well understood and is often oversimplified in the building life cycle, due to its stochastic, diverse, complex, and interdisciplinary nature. The use of simplified methods or tools to quantify the impacts of occupant behavior in building performance simulations significantly contributes to performance gaps between simulated models and actual building energy consumption. Therefore, it is crucial to understand occupant behavior in a comprehensive way, integrating qualitative approaches and data- and model-driven quantitative approaches, and employing appropriate tools to guide the design and operation ofmore » low-energy residential and commercial buildings that integrate technological and human dimensions. This paper presents ten questions, highlighting some of the most important issues regarding concepts, applications, and methodologies in occupant behavior research. The proposed questions and answers aim to provide insights into occupant behavior for current and future researchers, designers, and policy makers, and most importantly, to inspire innovative research and applications to increase energy efficiency and reduce energy use in buildings.« less
    Cited by 33Full Text Available
  9. More than 80% of energy is consumed during operation phase of a building's life cycle, so energy efficiency retrofit for existing buildings is considered a promising way to reduce energy use in buildings. The investment strategies of retrofit depend on the ability to quantify energy savings by “measurement and verification” (M&V), which compares actual energy consumption to how much energy would have been used without retrofit (called the “baseline” of energy use). Although numerous models exist for predicting baseline of energy use, a critical limitation is that occupancy has not been included as a variable. However, occupancy rate is essentialmore » for energy consumption and was emphasized by previous studies. This study develops a new baseline model which is built upon the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) model but includes the use of building occupancy data. The study also proposes metrics to quantify the accuracy of prediction and the impacts of variables. However, the results show that including occupancy data does not significantly improve the accuracy of the baseline model, especially for HVAC load. The reasons are discussed further. In addition, sensitivity analysis is conducted to show the influence of parameters in baseline models. To conclude, the results from this study can help us understand the influence of occupancy on energy use, improve energy baseline prediction by including the occupancy factor, reduce risks of M&V and facilitate investment strategies of energy efficiency retrofit.« less
    Cited by 23Full Text Available
  10. Cited by 14Full Text Available

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