Frontiers in Civil Engineering

Frontiers in Civil Engineering

Volume: 6

Occupant Behaviour in Buildings: Advances and Challenges

Occupant behaviour in buildings is a point of interest for building designers around the world. Functional buildings have a significant energy demand; therefore, improving the thermal and energy ...
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Exploring The Potential of Combining Technological Innovations with Qualitative Methods in Occupant Behaviour Research

Pp. 1-37 (37)

DOI: 10.2174/9781681088327121060003

Author(s): Mateus V. Bavaresco*, Ricardo F. Rupp, Enedir Ghisi

Abstract

The literature emphasises the important role that occupants play regarding the energy performance of buildings. Scholars have applied several methods to assess occupants’ preferences and practices in their field studies. Technological innovations such as Internet-of-Things (IoT) may capture valuable objective information that can be translated into mathematical models. Such models are vital in Building Performance Simulation (BPS) practices as they are expected to reduce performance gaps between expected and real energy use in buildings during operational phase. However, datadriven models strictly related to physical parameters exclude essential subjective information like occupant preferences and needs. There is enough evidence showing that individual differences impact on thermal preferences and levels of comfort indoors, which must also be considered in occupant behaviour studies. Aside from individual preferences, there is also social influence when occupants share spaces and the control of building systems. Several methods commonly used in social science studies are expected to incorporate the needed subjective information in this field if properly used. Therefore, this chapter explores the potentials of combining objective information gathered from technological innovations with subjective inputs obtained through qualitative methods.

Keywords:

Behavioural sensing, Building control, Building operation, Comfort, Energy, Energy efficiency in buildings, Indoor environment, Internet of things, Occupant behaviour, Social science, Technology.