Paper Conference

Proceedings of BSO Conference 2022: 6th Conference of IBPSA-England


Investigation on the impact of occupant-centric design method applications on building energy efficiency and comfort – a case study

Zsofia Deme Belafi, Edit Barna, Julia Simon
Budapest University of Technology and Economics

Abstract: Designed and actual energy use in buildings depend on various factors. Due to many decades of scientific research and innovation on building technology, construction quality, climate representation, advanced design tools and other non-human-related aspects, energy consumption in buildings started to decrease. However, the desired net zero energy consumption levels many times are far from reality. It was found that an essential component of buildings, humans, needs to be accounted for in a more thorough way during the design process of a building. Without understanding and appropriately representing building occupants and their needs in the design process, it seems impossible to estimate real, in- use energy consumption levels. In a recent research project, building design studios were surveyed in Hungary about the methods used to consider occupants during their design projects. It was found that only 83% of designers know the expected number of occupants in the buildings designed, occupancy schedules are given only to 36% of them. Thermal, acoustic, visual comfort and IAQ expectations of spaces are given to 53%, 33%, 36% and 42% of building projects respectively. According to the survey results, only 39% of designers use some kind of dynamic building simulations to support their energy efficiency calculations in Hungary. Recent research suggests that with a more occupant-centric design approach, with more information on future occupants of the building, not only energy efficiency but comfort levels and space use efficiency can be increased as well. This paper shows to what extent these parameters could be improved in case of a case study office building from Hungary. Our investigations compare the results of the locally widely used, traditional design methods to the case where occupant-centric design methods are used.
Keywords: occupant behaviour, occupant-centric design, case study