UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering


Yan Wang

Modelling occupant behaviour for low-carbon human-centric building design

Occupant behaviour has been acknowledged as one of the leading factors affecting building energy use. Occupants’ interactions with windows is one of the most studied fields due to its direct impacts on building energy demand and indoor air quality (IAQ). Although advances have been made in modelling people’s window operation behaviour, there has been a lack of proper treatment of inter-occupant diversity. Also, the two-way interactions between environmental parameters like PM2.5, PM10 and people’ window operations have been rarely investigated in depth, and the window use behaviour remains universally neglected in the study of home air purifier (HAP). Hence, this research project sets out to better understand occupants’ interactions with windows and HAPs for designing a more energy-efficient and healthier building environment.

As an integral part of the QUASIMODO project, a monitoring campaign in 18 flats situated in East London has been taking place, consisting of in-situ measurements of environmental parameters, occupancy, window operations and people’s use of HAPs, along with semi-structured questionnaire surveys. Benefitting from the constantly uploaded database stored in the online server, a customised programming code has been running on a daily basis to timely detect the abnormities of sensors during the entire monitoring period to minimise the data loss.

In line with IEA-EBC Annex 79, this research project will deploy long term occupant behaviour data and conduct simulation-based investigations to address an essential question pertinent to the occupant-centric building design :how can simulation based building design processes along with energy codes and standards, better account for occupants’ needs and behaviour to yield healthier, more comfortable and energy-efficient buildings for occupants? The analysis will start with the identification of key drivers to people’s window operation behaviour among a range of monitored parameters, followed by a structured modelling process and a systematic validation procedure. Subsequently, the building energy models that incorporate validated window operation models will serve to investigate the implications of the occupant behaviour for energy demand, and IAQ assessments and pertinent performance-based building design efforts.