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Title: Incorporating occupant behaviour and comfort in domestic energy retrofit
Author: Ben, Hui
ISNI:       0000 0004 7962 0164
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2019
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While a large energy saving potential exists in domestic retrofit to meet the UK Government's goal of carbon emissions reduction through the Climate Change Act 2008, the complexity of occupant behaviour and comfort needs often prevents the seemingly achievable retrofit targets from being reached. These real-life complexities contrast starkly with the standardised and simplistic behavioural profiles currently used in energy modelling to generate retrofit recommendations. The provision of more detailed information concerning behaviour and comfort needs can help improve energy consumption predictions and enable policy interventions to respond to different household types while maintaining a comfortable indoor environment for occupants. This research combines both social and technical methods to develop a tailored approach for domestic retrofit using household archetypes. An archetype is a typical example of households sharing similar behavioural patterns and dwelling physical characteristics. On the one hand, it uses first-hand interviews and household surveys to understand people's social practices and patterns of behaviour. From these surveys, key household types based on household behaviours and dwelling characteristics are identified. On the other hand, the energy performance of buildings is monitored, and a model is developed incorporating these distinct household types to determine energy use. This modelling increases the accuracy of predictions concerning which retrofit strategies are most effective for each household type. The use of household archetypes to analyse energy and cost implications can bring about significant savings compared to the conventional approach, which treats occupancy and behaviour in a homogeneous manner. Overall, this research suggests that a tailored approach, incorporating human behaviour, to domestic retrofit can considerably improve energy savings without compromising occupant comfort.
Supervisor: Steemers, Koen Sponsor: Cambridge Trust ; Wolfson College Cambridge ; Lundgren Research Awards ; GBCET Chinese Student Awards ; Henry Lester Trust Award
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Energy retrofit ; Occupant behaviour ; Domestic buildings ; Comfort ; Household archetypes