Definition of occupant behavior in residential buildings and its application to behavior analysis in case studies

Shuqin Chen, Weiwei Yang, Hiroshi Yoshino, Mark D. Levine, Katy Newhouse, Adam Hinge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Citations (Scopus)


Abstract One significant obstacle improving the energy efficiency of buildings is a lack of understanding the occupant behavior in buildings. There is a need for systematic definitions to describe occupant behavior for different research purposes. To achieve this, three-levels of definitions for behavioral parameters for residential buildings were developed. The three levels - simple, intermediate and complex - serve three research purposes - statistical analysis, case studies and detailed diagnostics/simulation, respectively. For statistical analysis, a few parameters related to the schedule of occupancy and appliances are defined. More parameters are defined at the intermediate level, where definitions for the operation schedule and the set point of appliances for case studies are provided. For the complex level, subschemas are defined to describe the schedule, set points and control rules of three kinds of occupant behavior, namely occupancy, appliance operation, and window/shading operation. A statistical survey of occupant behavior in residential buildings in a city and a one-year monitoring of occupant behavior in a family were conducted to verify the simple-level definitions and the complex-level definitions. The result indicates the different levels of definitions can apply to different research purposes and reveals the main features and energy saving potential related to occupant behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5981
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalEnergy and Buildings
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jul 25


  • Case studies
  • Characteristics of occupant behavior
  • Definition of occupant behavior
  • Residential buildings

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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