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Developing occupant archetypes within urban low-income housing: A case study in Mumbai, India

Abstract

Rapid urbanization pressure and poverty have created a push for affordable housing within the global south. The design of affordable housing can have consequences on the thermal (dis)comfort and behaviour of the occupants, hence requiring an occupant-centric approach to ensure sustainability. This paper investigates occupant behaviour within the urban poor households of Mumbai, India and its impact on their thermal comfort and energy use. This study is a first-of-its-kind attempt to explore the socio-demographic characteristics and energy-related behaviour of low-income occupants within Indian context. Three occupant archetypes, Indifferent Consumers; Considerate Savers; and Conscious Conventionals, were identified from the behavioural and psychographic characteristics gathered through a transverse field survey. A two-step clustering approach was adopted for occupant segmentation that highlighted considerable diversity in occupants’ adaptation measures, energy knowledge, energy habits, and their pro-environmental behaviour within similar socio-economic group. Building energy simulation of the representative archetype behaviour estimated up to 37% variations for air-conditioned and up to 8% variation for fan-assisted naturally ventilated housing units during peak summer months. The results from this study establish the significance of occupant factors in shaping energy demand and thermal comfort within low-income housing and pave way for developing occupant-centric building design strategies to serve this marginalized population. The developed low-income occupant archetypes would be useful for architects and energy modelers to generate realistic energy use profiles and improve building performance simulation results.

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Abbreviations

BIC:

Bayesian inference criterion

CCons :

conscious conventionals

CSavs :

considerate savers

CVRMSE:

coefficient of variation of the root mean squared error

ICAP:

India Cooling Action Plan

ICons :

indifferent consumers

MBE:

mean bias error

OB:

occupant behaviour

PAT:

peak-to-trough

RECS:

residential electricity consumption survey

SRH:

slum rehabilitation housing

TSC:

two-step cluster

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Acknowledgements

The material presented in this manuscript is based upon the work supported by the Building Energy Efficiency Higher and Advanced Network (BHAVAN) Fellowship sponsored by Indo-US Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF) and Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India. The work is also supported by Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India under the MHRD-FAST Grant [14MHRD005] and IRCC-IIT Bombay Fund, Grant No. [16IRCC561015]. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the DST-IUSSTF, MHRD and/or IRCCIITB. The authors would like to thank all the participants of the field survey for their time and effort. The research work presented in this manuscript is a part of the doctoral thesis of JM.

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Correspondence to Jeetika Malik.

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This is a U.S. government work and not under copyright protection in the U.S.; foreign copyright protection may apply 2022

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Malik, J., Bardhan, R., Hong, T. et al. Developing occupant archetypes within urban low-income housing: A case study in Mumbai, India. Build. Simul. 15, 1661–1683 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12273-022-0889-9

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12273-022-0889-9

Keywords

  • occupant archetype
  • behaviour
  • energy use
  • thermal comfort
  • low-income housing