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Customizing the Behavior of Interacting Occupants using Personas

Best Paper Award
IBPSA-USA SimBuild Conference
2010

Abstract

This work introduces personas, descriptions of fictional individuals used in the field of human-computer interaction, into the simulation of building performance. The ultimate goal is to reduce the impact of buildings on the environment by helping architects predict the energy demand associated with different design options. As energy consumption patterns are largely dependent on human activities, we previously developed a method to simulate the behavior of individual building occupants. Here we extend the method, allowing occupants to interact with one another. Also, whereas activities generated by the previous method were based on only the recorded schedules of real people, we now use personas as well to customize and diversify occupant behavior. Both occupant interaction and behavior customization were achieved via the assignment of weighting coefficients to activities used for model calibration. Simulation results demonstrate that, by supplying only modest amounts of information, architects may be able to generate plausible interdependent schedules specifically tailored to their own projects.

 

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Building Simulation

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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