Energy consumption of residential buildings and occupancy profiles. A case study in Mediterranean climatic conditions
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Residential energy consumptions are determined by the interaction of many factors. Apart from physical characteristics such as climate, heating type, age, and size of the house, occupants’ behavior and socio-economic aspects are critical. Furthermore, the relative impact of the occupants’ characteristics and behavior seems to differ in various investigations confirming the importance of contextual analysis. In this study, different procedures for obtaining occupancy profiles are described and applied with reference to a residential building stock located in Mediterranean climatic conditions (Italy). The heating and domestic hot water (DHW) energy consumptions and indoor comfort conditions of a representative building were determined by introducing different occupant scenarios in dynamic simulations. The occupancy profiles were built by means of data collected at the University of Calabria using surveys, interviews, bills, and statistical elaborations. Considering different modes of use of the dwelling (Regulations, Current-use, and Statistical), in the simulation process, all the inputs of occupancy, ventilation, lighting, DHW, and heating operation were modified. The Regulations occupancy profile produces an underestimation of heating energy consumption. Additionally, primary energy for DHW is strongly affected by the family composition. The effect of the occupants’ preferences on the energy performance of the building was investigated: mainly energy consumptions and internal comfort conditions vary with the set point temperature and the duration of ventilation. The analysis provides reference procedures for obtaining occupancy profiles. Furthermore, the simulation results demonstrate the significant dependence of heating and DWH primary energy consumption on the characteristics and preferences of occupants in the Mediterranean climate.
KeywordsOccupants’ behavior Energy consumption Residential buildings Heating, domestic hot water Thermal comfort
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