Validation and Modeling of the Occupants‘ Interaction with the Built Environment, and Implementation of Occupants’ Behavior Algorithms into the Building Automation System

Duration: 3.25 years

Start: 6/2015

End: 9/2018

Project partners:

  • ABB AG, Building Automation
  • Fraunhofer IBP, Abteilung Raumklima
  • Karlsruher Institut für Technologie, Fachgebiet Bauphysik und Technischer Ausbau
  • RWTH Aachen, E3D - Institute of Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Building

Sponsor: BMWi – Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, promotional reference 03ET1289D


Occupants behavior strongly affects the energy consumption of buildings and their CO2 emissions. This effect is particularly strong by buildings with high energy standards. The calculated expected energy consumption of new and refurbished buildings may strongly underestimate real building performance. The interaction between occupants and buildings is mostly extremely simplified both in tools for the planning and predicting the energy consumption of buildings, as well as in the area of building automation. Data-based algorithms describing well enough the occupant interaction with the built environment are still missing.

The objective of this project is to evaluate the occupant behavior, in particular the interaction occupant - building envelope in passively cooled buildings, and the interaction occupant – engineering system (cooling, ventilation). Thermal and visual comfort are addressed as command variables. Real data on occupant behavior are collected in a test facility, emulating an office room, and in real offices located in the main building of the E.ON Energy Research Center. The collected data are used to generate probability based, stochastic occupant behavior models. Those models will be implemented as prototypes in the building automation environment of the main building of the E.ON ERC and used to optimally control the building’s engineering system.

The project is executed in strong collaboration with the following partners: E3D - Institute of Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Building, RWTH Aachen University, the Fachgebiet Bauphysik & Technischer Ausbau (fbta) of the KIT, The Fraunhofer Institut for Building Physics and the industrial partner ABB. This project is also part of the International Energy Agency Annex 66 "Definition and Simulation of Occupant Behavior in Buildings"

  Copyright: EBC
  Copyright: EBC

Yellow marks the actual presence and light red the detected presence profiles for 22.05.2013. On the bottom bar, a comparison of the detected and actual presence (without taking into account the exact number of occupants): if green, the algorithm detected occupant presence correctly; if red, the algorithm detected occupants while no one was there; if blue, the algorithm did not detect occupants even though someone was in the room.