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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Monitoring Occupant Window Opening Behaviour in Buildings: A Critical Review

Pp. 38-71 (34)

DOI: 10.2174/9781681088327121060004

Author(s): Shen Wei*, Yan Ding, Wei Yu


People’s behaviour can significantly impact both the energy consumption and the indoor thermal environment of the buildings, and of particular interest is their window opening behaviour. A better understanding of why, when and how occupants open windows is, therefore, essential in the quest to achieve low-carbon buildings. Many studies have sought to answer these questions based on behavioural data measured in actual buildings. This paper introduces existing methods that have been used to monitor occupant window opening behaviour in buildings based on a comprehensive review of literature, as well as for relevant influential factors, and critically discusses the advantages and disadvantages of each method. The review has identified five methods monitoring window usage (i.e. self-recording, electronic recording, observing by surveyors and self-estimating), and each method has its advantages and disadvantages in terms of feasible sample size, monitoring interval and duration, recognition of window states/opening angle, and the relative dynamic nature of behaviour. The aim has been to provide researchers with systematic criteria for selecting a suitable monitoring method for their specific research objectives. Additionally, the paper demonstrates the need for a standard method for monitoring relevant influential factors, as these varied considerably between existing studies with respect to the accuracy, interval and location. Such variation clearly has the potential to influence the ability to perform cross-study comparisons.


Behavioural modelling, Buildings, Driver, Energy, Electronic measurement, Indoor air quality, Indoor environment, Monitoring, Outdoor environment, Window opening behaviour.