Our research lies at the intersection of Building Engineering, Data Science, Architecture and Behavioural Science; We mainly focus on the following:
1. Modelling occupant-building interactions at multiple scales
Energy demand, particularly in buildings, is subject to several sources of uncertainty; among which occupant behaviour is one of the least understood and accounted for. Our research aims to model and quantify their effect on energy use uncertainties in buildings at both the design and operational stages. We also investigate the propagation of these uncertainties at the district and wider urban scales and their effect on temporal and spatial energy use patterns. Outcomes of these research activities are crucial for optimizing urban-scale energy systems (e.g. district heating/cooling), and managing building-grid interactions, especially as renewable energy resources are increasingly introduced.
2. Occupant-centric optimization of building energy systems’ control
Typical building operations assume uniform occupancy patterns and standard occupant preferences, which rarely match reality. The result is wasteful energy use (e.g., heating empty spaces) and frequent occupant discomfort, especially in larger buildings with shared spaces. Our research aims to develop Occupant-Centric Control (OCC) strategies, which represent a novel approach for indoor climate control in which occupant preferences are directly measured or indirectly inferred from various sensors, meters or control interfaces. These control strategies can be applied to manage HVAC systems at both the room or building levels and can be extended to manage building-grid interactions. Outcomes of these research activities aim to develop building systems’ control approaches that improve both energy efficiency and occupant comfort within the built environment.