Development of Dutch occupancy and heating profiles for building simulation

Olivia Guerra Santin*, Sacha Silvester

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)
144 Downloads (Pure)


Building simulations are often used to predict energy demand and to determine the financial feasibility of the low-carbon projects. However, recent research has documented large differences between actual and predicted energy consumption. In retrofit projects, this difference creates uncertainty about the payback periods and, as a consequence, owners are reluctant to invest in energy-efficient technologies. The differences between the actual and the expected energy consumption are caused by inexact input data on the thermal properties of the building envelope and by the use of standard occupancy data. Integrating occupancy patterns of diversity and variability in behaviour into building simulation can potentially foresee and account for the impact of behaviour in building performance. The presented research develops and applies occupancy heating profiles for building simulation tools in order create more accurate predictions of energy demand and energy performance. Statistical analyses were used to define the relationship between seven most common household types and occupancy patterns in the Netherlands. The developed household profiles aim at providing energy modellers with reliable, detailed and ready-to-use occupancy data for building simulation. This household-specific occupancy information can be used in projects that are highly sensitive to the uncertainty related to return of investments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)396-413
Number of pages18
JournalBuilding Research and Information: the international journal of research, development and demonstration
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • energy demand
  • heating
  • occupancy profiles
  • occupant behaviour
  • performance simulation
  • personas
  • retrofit
  • simulation tools


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