As a consequence of considerable uncertainty about occupancy, occupant behaviour, and the corresponding effect on thermal loads in buildings, it is difficult to correctly size heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) equipment. Mechanical engineers avoid liability of potential under-capacity and corresponding thermal discomfort by making conservative assumptions about occupants. Meanwhile, there has been a surge in research on characterizing occupants through increasingly advanced modelling approaches to support building performance simulation, but these have focused on agent-based models representing individual occupants, which may be impractical for building-level HVAC equipment sizing. This paper describes the development of a data-driven stochastic tenant model using 15 months of data from 17 independent commercial tenants. The model is implemented in EnergyPlus to examine its potential for an improved HVAC equipment-sizing procedure. The results show: the standard schedules are reasonable though conservative; oversizing equipment does not greatly improve comfort; and the tremendous importance of modelling inter-tenant diversity.

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Keywords HVAC sizing, lighting loads, occupant modelling, office building, plug loads
Persistent URL
Journal Journal of Building Performance Simulation
O'Brien, W, Abdelalim, A. (Aly), & Gunay, H.B. (2018). Development of an office tenant electricity use model and its application for right-sizing HVAC equipment. Journal of Building Performance Simulation, 1–19. doi:10.1080/19401493.2018.1463394