International Construction Specialty Conference of the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering (ICSC) (5th : 2015)

A methodology to evaluate the effects of school buildings' occupancy and usage on their energy consumption Ouf, Mohamed M.; Issa, Mohamed H.; Polyzois, Panos; Merkel, Phil


Buildings contribute 20 to 40% of the world’s energy consumption, making the need to regulate and minimize their energy use a priority. Although several parameters can have an impact on buildings’ energy use, the impact of buildings’ occupancy and usage seems to have been rarely investigated in the literature. This paper presents a methodology for the detailed assessment of building occupancy and usage, focusing on school buildings specifically. The methodology is part of an ongoing study aiming to evaluate the effects of school buildings’ occupancy and usage on their energy consumption, focusing on Manitoba school buildings. It is being conducted by the University of Manitoba Construction Engineering and Management Group in collaboration with the Government of Manitoba Public Schools Finance Board and Manitoba Hydro’s Customer Engineering Department. An extensive literature review was carried out to identify relevant methods used to evaluate occupants’ behaviour and energy use. The review showed how the few studies that have developed such methods focused on commercial or residential buildings, with little emphasis on school buildings specifically. The methodology and study aim to investigate overall building occupancy, as well as real-time usage of specific indoor spaces using surveys, interviews, visual observations and document analysis. The methodology focuses on 1) comparing building occupancy and usage across old, middle-aged, and new green schools 2) evaluating the effects of overall building occupancy on overall energy consumption, and 3) evaluating the effects of occupants’ behaviour and usage on space-level electricity consumption. It complements a previously developed methodology aiming to evaluate historical energy data and real-time electricity consumption in specific school spaces. The two methodologies will be validated by applying them at the building level to a sample of thirty-one schools in Manitoba and at the space-level to three representative schools. Once complete, the study is expected to provide a tool that researchers and industry practitioners can use to improve their schools’ energy efficiency and thus improve their schools’ design, construction, operation and maintenance.

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