Building Simulation

, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 803–817 | Cite as

Improving occupant-related features in building performance simulation tools

  • Mohamed M. Ouf
  • William O’Brien
  • H. Burak Gunay
Research Article Architecture and Human Behavior


Despite the research advances and demonstrated benefit of occupant modelling and simulation in recent years, its uptake in building simulation practice has been relatively slow. One of the underlying causes of this issue is limited occupant-related features of building performance simulation (BPS) tools. To this end, we present a detailed breakdown of occupant-related features and compare them between common BPS tools. Based on the outcomes of a stakeholder workshop, and an international survey that focused on occupant modelling, we provide detailed recommendations to improve occupant-related features in BPS tools. We finally present a case study demonstrating the suggested occupant-related features to apply multiple occupancy assumptions, and integrate occupant behaviour models from the literature. Results are presented as part of a non-functional mock-up graphical user interface (GUI) to demonstrate potential features of BPS tools given the suggested occupant-related improvements. These suggested improvements for BPS tools would enable users to quickly assess proposed designs’ sensitivity to different occupancy scenarios, and ultimately increase the robustness of their final designs. The presented recommendations are relevant to practitioners, researchers, and BPS tool developers as part of the efforts to increase the uptake of detailed occupant modelling in building simulation practice.


building performance simulation occupancy occupant behaviour building simulation software tools occupant modelling 


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This research was supported by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), under the Clean Energy Innovation (CEI) component of the Energy Innovation Program (EIP). The workshop was funded by Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC). The authors would also like to thank the workshop participants for devoting over a day of their time to travel to Ottawa to provide valuable input to workshop.


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Copyright information

© Tsinghua University Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mohamed M. Ouf
    • 1
  • William O’Brien
    • 1
  • H. Burak Gunay
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Civil EngineeringCarleton UniversityOttawaCanada

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