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Building Performance Implications of Occupant Mobility

Sara Gilani, Rhys Goldstein, Simon Breslav, Alex Tessier, William Brien

International Conference of the International Building Performance Simulation Association
2019

Abstract

In the ongoing effort to improve building performance predictions, a key question is whether it is important to consider variations of occupant distributions resulting from inter-zone occupant mobility inside a building. The objective of this research is to study the impact of various occupant distributions on building performance predictions using simulation. A generic office building in Toronto, Canada, was simulated under homogeneous and heterogeneous distributions of occupants using EnergyPlus. The simulation results showed that as occupant mobility inside a building led to varied occupants’ densities at the zone level, zone-level energy use and unmet hours are dependent on occupant mobility.

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Buildings are the largest consumers of energy responsible for 48% of all Green House Gas (GHG) emissions. Due to the complexity and multidisciplinary aspects of architectural design, construction, urban design, and building occupant behavior, simulation has gained attention as a means of addressing this enormous challenge. The idea is to model a building’s many interacting subsystems, including its occupants, electrical equipment, and indoor and outdoor climate. With simulation results in hand, an architect is better able to predict the energy demand associated with various designs, and choose from among the more sustainable options.

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