Building Simulation

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 37–49 | Cite as

An agent-based stochastic Occupancy Simulator

  • Yixing Chen
  • Tianzhen Hong
  • Xuan Luo
Research Article Building Thermal, Lighting, and Acoustics Modeling


Occupancy has significant impacts on building performance. However, in current building performance simulation programs, occupancy inputs are static and lack diversity, contributing to discrepancies between the simulated and actual building performance. This paper presents an Occupancy Simulator that simulates the stochastic behavior of occupant presence and movement in buildings, capturing the spatial and temporal occupancy diversity. Each occupant and each space in the building are explicitly simulated as an agent with their profiles of stochastic behaviors. The occupancy behaviors are represented with three types of models: (1) the status transition events (e.g., first arrival in office) simulated with probability distribution model, (2) the random moving events (e.g., from one office to another) simulated with a homogeneous Markov chain model, and (3) the meeting events simulated with a new stochastic model. A hierarchical data model was developed for the Occupancy Simulator, which reduces the amount of data input by using the concepts of occupant types and space types. Finally, a case study of a small office building is presented to demonstrate the use of the Simulator to generate detailed annual sub-hourly occupant schedules for individual spaces and the whole building. The Simulator is a web application freely available to the public and capable of performing a detailed stochastic simulation of occupant presence and movement in buildings. Future work includes enhancements in the meeting event model, consideration of personal absent days, verification and validation of the simulated occupancy results, and expansion for use with residential buildings.


occupant behavior occupant presence and movement agent-based modeling occupancy model stochastic model meeting event model 


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This study is supported by the Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy of the United States Department of Energy under Contract No. DE-AC02-05CH11231 through the U.S.-China joint program of Clean Energy Research Center on Building Energy Efficiency. This work is also part of the research activities of IEA EBC Annex 66, definition and simulation of occupant behavior in buildings.


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Copyright information

© Tsinghua University Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Building Technology and Urban Systems DivisionLawrence Berkeley National LaboratoryBerkeleyUSA

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