Comparing the impact of presence patterns on energy demand in residential buildings using measured data and simulation models

Abstract

Prediction of the energy performance of buildings helps designers with decision-making during the design process in new construction, as well as in renovation projects. Simulation software is used as a prediction tool to calculate the energy performance of buildings. However, numerous studies question its reliability due to the existing discrepancy (gap) between calculated and actual energy performance. Although occupant behaviour is identified as a factor of major impact on the energy performance of buildings, the complex stochastic nature of user behaviour makes it difficult to define actual occupancy patterns. As a result, standard and normative data are usually used as input in energy simulation models. The aim of this research is to test the effect of the use of actual presence profiles on energy demand simulations compared to the use of international normative presence profiles. A study on energy demand has therefore been developed, using dynamic simulation and monitoring campaigns. The results show that the heating and cooling energy demand may differ by up to 15% depending on whether actual or standard presence profiles are used. Therefore, presence profiles should be considered as a significant factor in the adjustment of input data in renovation projects. The final aim of this investigation is to determine the effect of using more accurate building and occupancy simulation parameters when assessing the feasibility of building renovation (payback period calculation for example). This paper focuses on the effect of presence profiles.

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Acknowledgements

This research has been funded by Universidad Politécnica de Madrid and partially by INTERREC IVB and the Building Technology Accelerator (BTA) — Climate Kic. We would also like to show our gratitude to TEP 130 research group with special thanks to Jessica Fernandez-Agüera for assistance with the Blower Door test.

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Correspondence to Elena Cuerda.

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Cuerda, E., Guerra-Santin, O., Sendra, J.J. et al. Comparing the impact of presence patterns on energy demand in residential buildings using measured data and simulation models. Build. Simul. 12, 985–998 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12273-019-0539-z

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Keywords

  • building energy performance
  • occupant patterns
  • occupant schedules
  • occupant behaviour
  • occupancy monitoring
  • post-occupancy evaluation