American Society of Civil Engineers


An Agent-Based Approach to Model the Effect of Occupants’ Energy Use Characteristics in Commercial Buildings


by Elie Azar, (Graduate Student, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, 2231 Engineering Hall 1415 Engineering Drive. E-mail: eazar@wisc.edu) and Carol Menassa, Ph.D., (Mortenson Company Assistant Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, 2318 Engineering Hall 1415 Engineering Drive. E-mail: menassa@wisc.edu)
Section: Design, Engineering, and Analysis, pp. 536-543, (doi:  http://dx.doi.org/10.1061/41182(416)66)

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Document type: Conference Proceeding Paper
Part of: Computing in Civil Engineering (2011)
Abstract: Energy consumption estimates obtained during the design phase of commercial buildings typically differ from actual consumption levels measured during the operation phase. One important reason for this variation is that energy estimation software (e.g. eQuest and Energy Plus) consider occupants as static elements with fixed schedules and energy use characteristics, misrepresenting the dynamic aspect of their interactions in the building environment and the resulting changes in their energy consumption patterns. This paper proposes a new approach for energy estimation in buildings using agent-based modeling, a technique capable of simulating occupancy in a dynamic manner. First, occupants are divided into ‘Low’, ‘Medium’, and ‘High’ energy consumers. Then, an agent-based model simulates these occupants’ interactions with each other, with the room environment, and with the exterior. Preliminary results show a difference of more than 20 percent in the design energy consumption estimates for a university building office when using the proposed method.


ASCE Subject Headings:
Energy efficiency
Commercial buildings