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A high-resolution domestic building occupancy model for energy demand simulations

Richardson, I. and Thomson, M. and Infield, D.G. (2008) A high-resolution domestic building occupancy model for energy demand simulations. Energy and Buildings, 40 (8). pp. 1560-1566. ISSN 0378-7788

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Energy use in the home is a major source of carbon emissions and is highly dependent on the activities of the residents. More specifically, the timing of energy use, particularly electricity, is highly dependent on the timing of the occupants' activities. Thus, in order to model domestic demand profiles with high temporal resolution, for example, in the context of designing and assessing demand side management systems (including the time-shifting of demand), it is of great benefit to take account of residents' behaviour in terms of when they are likely to be using household appliances, lighting and heating. This paper presents a thorough and detailed method for generating realistic occupancy data for UK households, based upon surveyed time-use data describing what people do and when. The approach presented generates statistical occupancy time-series data at a ten-minute resolution and takes account of differences between weekdays and weekends. The model also indicates the number of occupants that are active within a house at a given time, which is important for example in order to model the sharing of energy use (shared use of appliances, etc.) The data from the model can be used as input to any domestic energy model that uses occupancy time-series as a base variable, or any other application that requires detailed occupancy data. The model has been implemented in Excel and is available for free download.