Paper Conference

2018 Building Performance Analysis Conference and SimBuild co-organized by ASHRAE and IBPSA-USA


A Bluetooth Based Occupancy Detection for Buildings

June Young Park, Thomas Dougherty, Zoltan Nagy
The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX

Abstract: As occupants and their behaviors are responsible for a significant share of the energy consumption in buildings, it is of important to gather occupancy data. In fact, gathering occupancy data is considered as one of the grand challenges in building information modeling. Capitalizing on the pervasiveness of mobile devices with Bluetooth (BT) functionality, in this paper, we propose an occupant detection system that uses the BT signal to infer occupant presence. We present the low-cost hardware based on the Raspberry Pi and the open-source software. We apply our approach in a real building environment with two experimental scenarios: 1) Occupancy estimation of a whole building level, and 2) Characterization of occupant types in a shared office. We estimate the ratio r of detected BT devices to actual number of people to be r ≈ 0.64. Our results show robust detection of occupants, as well as successful characterization of occupancy types as stationary, regular occupants, and visitors. Our method can be deployed quickly, and does not require the occupants to install a specific software. Thus, the proposed approach is especially useful for retrofit solutions.
Pages: 807 - 814