A methodology for modelling energy-related human behaviour: Application to window opening behaviour in residential buildings

Valentina Fabi, Rune Korsholm Andersen, Stefano P. Corgnati, Bjarne W. Olesen

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    An energy simulation of a building is a mathematical representation of its physical behaviour considering all the thermal, lighting, acoustics aspects. However, a simulation cannot precisely replicate a real construction because all the simulations are based on a number of key assumptions that affect the results accuracy. Above all, the real energy performance can be affected by the actual behaviour of the building occupants. Thus, there are great benefits to be derived from improving models that simulate the behaviour of human beings within the context of engineered complex systems. The occupant behaviour related to the building control potentialities is a very complex process that has been studied only in the last years with some focuses related to natural ventilation (window opening behaviour), space heating energy demand (in particular the adjustments in the temperature set-point) and natural light (focusing on window blinds adjustments). In this paper, a methodology is presented to model the user behaviour in the context of real energy use and applied to a case study. The methodology, based on a medium/long-term monitoring, is aimed at shifting towards a probabilistic approach for modelling the human behaviour related to the control of indoor environment. The procedure is applied at models of occupants’ interactions with windows (opening and closing behaviour). Models of occupants’ window opening behaviour were inferred based on measurements and implemented in a simulation program. Simulation results were given as probability distributions of energy consumption and indoor environmental quality depending on user behaviour.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalBuilding Simulation
    Issue number4
    Pages (from-to)415-427
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


    • Occupant behaviour
    • Energy modelling
    • Building energy performance
    • Probabilistic approach


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