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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The effect of occupant comfort preferences and use patterns on the space heating loads in the context of the next home unit Yusupov, Timor


The occupant plays an important role in residential energy consumption, and likewise, a critical part in energy conservation. Studies have shown that energy consumption in similar houses can vary significantly due to the occupant’s behaviour and household characteristics. Nevertheless, very few studies have focused on identifying the occupant driven parameters responsible for energy variations or on quantifying their impact. This study analyzes the impact of the occupant’s preferences of temperature settings, the number of thermostats used, the door operations, the use of window curtains, and the fenestration’s effect on the heating loads of a residential unit. This analysis quantifies the impact of each occupant related parameter as a function of various factors, including occupancy patterns, interior layouts, orientation, and volumetric occupation. The research answers the following questions: How significant is the influence of occupant behaviour on space heating loads? How does this vary with changes in occupancy patterns and spatial configurations? How significant is the influence of changes in fenestration on space heating loads relative to occupant behaviour? Seventeen design scenarios are generated, through which the impact of the occupant behaviour and her/his design preferences is evaluated. The results, which are generated using IES VE software, identify the impact of each occupant related parameter on the heating loads using the Next Home Unit as a model house, located in a Toronto climate. In general, the results show that the occupancy patterns, interior layout, and volumetric occupation can significantly change the impact of each occupant related parameter on a unit’s heating loads. On average, reducing a unit’s temperature from 23℃ to 18℃ or installing low e double glazed windows, most significantly reduces the heating loads. The lowest impact on the heating loads is found when changing the fenestration area and leaving the doors open. The study shows that an occupant’s actions -- such as keeping doors close, heating the room only when occupied, reducing the unit’s temperature, and installing low e glazing -- can reduce the energy required for heating. However, as the research shows, the effect of the above actions can significantly vary due to occupancy patterns, interior layout, and volumetric occupation.

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