Occupants’ behavioural adaptation in workplaces with non-central heating and cooling systems
Liu, J., Yao, R., Wang, J. and Li , B. (2012) Occupants’ behavioural adaptation in workplaces with non-central heating and cooling systems. Applied Thermal Engineering, 35 . pp. 40-54. ISSN 1359-4311
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1016/j.applthermaleng.2011.09.037
Occupants’ behaviour when improving the indoor environment plays a significant role in saving energy in buildings. Therefore the key step to reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions from buildings is to understand how occupants interact with the environment they are exposed to in terms of achieving thermal comfort and well-being; though such interaction is complex. This paper presents a dynamic process of occupant behaviours involving technological, personal and psychological adaptations in response to varied thermal conditions based on the data covering four seasons gathered from the field study in Chongqing, China. It demonstrates that occupants are active players in environmental control and their adaptive responses are driven strongly by ambient thermal stimuli and vary from season to season and from time to time, even on the same day. Positive, dynamic, behavioural adaptation will help save energy used in heating and cooling buildings. However, when environmental parameters cannot fully satisfy occupants’ requirements, negative behaviours could conflict with energy saving. The survey revealed that about 23% of windows are partly open for fresh air when air-conditioners are in operation in summer. This paper addresses the issues how the building and environmental systems should be designed, operated and managed in a way that meets the requirements of energy efficiency without compromising wellbeing and productivity.