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- Examining the relationship between occupants' energy-related behaviors and spatial contextual factors using an agent-based modeling approach
- Nazmy, Hebatalla
- Electronic Theses & Dissertations
Environmental Design focuses on the interaction among the naturally occurring environment, human-built environment, and humans themselves. Underlying environmental design is energy performance. Energy performance is one of the environmental design aspects that contributes to the sustainability of the built environment. The built environment - or building's -energy performance depends on technical and human factors. Technological factors have been exhaustively studied, not surprising given the...
Show moreEnvironmental Design focuses on the interaction among the naturally occurring environment, human-built environment, and humans themselves. Underlying environmental design is energy performance. Energy performance is one of the environmental design aspects that contributes to the sustainability of the built environment. The built environment - or building's -energy performance depends on technical and human factors. Technological factors have been exhaustively studied, not surprising given the length of time building have been around. Human factors, however, while having an impact on buildings' energy performance, have only recently received considerable attention. Human factors, such as occupant behavior, has been identified as one of the factors that contribute to the inconsistencies between predicted and measured energy consumption. And energy consumption and conservation have been concerns for decades. The effect of specific building designs, namely spatial factors, that have on occupants' behavior, have been underestimated in previous research.The purpose of this research was to examine the relationship between spatial factors and occupants' energy-related behaviors. A survey was conducted to study occupants' behaviors regarding operating windows and adjusting blinds in multifamily residential buildings. The survey was conducted during the three months of both summer and winter. The responses were statistically modeled, and then a preliminary agent-based model was used to simulate occupants' interaction with buildings' systems and predict the resultant energy consumption. The proposed agent-based model accounted for the occupants' drivers to interact with the environmental systems within a building, such as air quality, thermal, visual, and acoustical conditions. It defined occupants' needs to control indoor environmental conditions based on spatial factors such as site characteristics, building features, space type, and furniture layout. That is, a good furniture layout (as suggested in this current study) can help people perform more sustainable behaviors. Additionally, occupants would need to achieve a multi-comfort level and may prioritize indoor environmental quality criteria based on their individual preferences. The proposed model also accounted for the psychological factors through utilizing the Theory of Planned Behavior.The survey results showed that the constructs of the Theory of Planned Behavior could be used to predict occupants' behavior of operating windows and adjusting blinds. It also explained that occupants' beliefs of operating windows and adjusting blinds are consistent across living and sleeping areas. Responses showed that the furniture layout influenced their interaction with windows and blinds. Most occupants indicated that they operate windows to control the indoor temperature and air quality. Some of the occupants mentioned that they prefer to sit close to the window to enjoy natural daylight and outdoor views. However, there was no significant relationship among the occupants' beliefs of operating windows and adjusting blinds, and the site characteristics such as the orientation, and the building features such as the floor level. The results of the proposed agent-based model simulation showed that occupants' beliefs regarding operating windows and adjusting blinds affect the building's energy consumption. One of the main limitations of this study is collecting subjective data of occupants' behavior of operating windows and adjusting blinds using a survey. Suggestions for future research include incorporating monitoring studies to collect objective data to support the survey results. Future research could also incorporate the proposed agent-based model with building energy simulation software to increase the accuracy and realism of the predicted building energy performance. Designers could benefit from this tool to make informed decisions based on the simulated energy-related occupants' behavior.