Modeling assumptions about how buildings will be used and operated have a major role in understanding the gap between predicted and measured energy use of buildings. The present research systematically quantified the impact of occupant modeling approaches on building energy performance across six climate zones of Canada. The impact of occupant modeling approaches was studied by altering the way occupant-related domains are modeled based on two modeling approaches: (1) standard assumptions, and (2) advanced models. Moreover, the impact of building operation modeling assumptions was studied using a simple approach for two domains, air handling unit (AHU) schedule and thermostat adjustment. The simulation results showed that the annual energy use of the building model was affected by advanced occupant models, mostly in milder climate zones. The predicted natural gas energy consumption using advanced models deviated by a factor of two from standard assumptions in the mildest climate zone of Canada. The occupant modeling domain that showed the highest main effect on energy use was lighting. Advanced occupant modeling generally led to a higher deviation of the predicted peak electricity load from standard assumptions in colder climates. AHU schedules and advanced operators’ thermostat adjustment model had a higher impact on predicted energy use than occupant modeling.

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Energy and Buildings
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Gilani, S. (Sara), & O'Brien, W. (2019). Exploring the impact of office building users' modeling approaches on energy use across Canadian climates. Energy and Buildings, 197, 68–86. doi:10.1016/j.enbuild.2019.05.042