A Feasibility Study on Occupants' Behaviour and Energy Usage Patterns and Its Potential Integration with Building Information Modelling

A Feasibility Study on Occupants' Behaviour and Energy Usage Patterns and Its Potential Integration with Building Information Modelling

Liangxiu Han (School of Computing, Mathematics and Digital Technology, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK), Haşim Altan (Sustainable Design of the Built Environment, Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology, The British University in Dubai, Dubai International Academic City, UAE) and Masa Noguchi (EDBI Research Group, Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 9
DOI: 10.4018/IJ3DIM.2015010103
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Abstract

Understanding how occupants manage their energy use in homes and how their behaviour influence household energy consumption in domestic environments has been challenging. There seems to be several major factors contributing towards achieving optimal performance in designing, constructing and maintaining a sustainable home using Building Information Modelling (BIM) based approaches. This study focuses on investigating the relationship between user behaviour and energy consumption through the in-depth analysis of energy usage patterns collected from a selected affordable terraced house in Prestwick, Scotland, as an initial attempt towards the future integration with BIM systems. For the purpose of this feasibility study, indoor temperature, relative humidity and CO2 sensors, as well as a gas-electricity-water utility monitor were installed in the selected home occupied by a working class nuclear household. The study encompasses the analyses of energy usage patterns in their daily life. It is confirmed that domestic energy consumption is affected by the occupants' presence and behaviour. Moreover, this paper discusses a possibility that the energy prediction approach taken in this study could work alongside BIM systems applied for housing suppliers' design decision-making on the delivery of energy efficient homes of the future.
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1. Introduction

Building information modelling (BIM) plays a vital role in designing, constructing, and maintaining a sustainable building (in this case, a sustainable house). The accuracy on BIM based approaches relies on comprehensive technical information drawn from designing, construction planning, and energy performance analysis activities where a building’s operational energy consumption, occupant (i.e. user) behaviour, and material choices are examined. For instance, in addition to the occupants’ hot water use and cooking activities, energy is consumed basically by heating, cooling, lighting and ventilating a house, when it comes into operation, so as to secure a comfortable and liveable space. The usage level may, however, differ from one family to another. Hence, occupant’s presence and behaviour have a significant impact on the energy use (Page et al., 2008). An occupant presence in a room generates a certain level of CO2, odour, and heat, which can directly change the indoor environment conditions. Because of this change, the occupants may interact with the building environment to maintain the comfort level; for example, they may open a window or switch on an air-conditioner. This, in turn, helps change the indoor air temperature and quality, as well as the energy consumption at home or in other types of buildings. All the information could then be fed into BIM systems to provide the overview of energy performance within the built environment. This may contribute to the optimal design decision-making and post-occupancy operation of energy-efficient housing and beyond (sustainable housing).

However, due to the complexity of building energy performance modelling accompanied by the lack of understanding on the relationship between energy consumption and occupant behaviour patterns, the effective integration of energy consumption and occupant behaviour patterns with BIM systems has yet to be explored and there is no exception in residential settings (Stumpf & Brucker, 2009).

Therefore, this study will first focus on understanding the relationship between occupant behaviour and energy consumption through analysing the energy usage of a selected Scottish home equipped with a gas-electricity-water usage monitor, as well as indoor temperature, relative humidity and CO2 sensors. It then discusses its potential integration with BIM systems. The rest of this paper is organised as follows: the second section overviews the existing work in relation to occupancy behaviour models and energy usage, and energy performance models and analysis. In the third section, the study extends to analyse energy usage patterns of an actual household selected, which reflect the occupants’ daily lifestyle. The forth section discusses its potential integration with BIM systems. The final section aims to highlight the findings of this study.

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