Comparing the impact of presence patterns on energy demand in residential buildings using measured data and simulation models

Elena Cuerda (Corresponding author), O. Guerra-Santin, Juan Jose Sendra, Francisco Javier Neila González

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Prediction of the energy performance of buildings helps designers with decision-making during the design process in new construction, as well as in renovation projects. Simulation software is used as a prediction tool to calculate the energy performance of buildings. However, numerous studies question its reliability due to the existing discrepancy (gap) between calculated and actual energy performance. Although occupant behaviour is identified as a factor of major impact on the energy performance of buildings, the complex stochastic nature of user behaviour makes it difficult to define actual occupancy patterns. As a result, standard and normative data are usually used as input in energy simulation models. The aim of this research is to test the effect of the use of actual presence profiles on energy demand simulations compared to the use of international normative presence profiles. A study on energy demand has therefore been developed, using dynamic simulation and monitoring campaigns. The results show that the heating and cooling energy demand may differ by up to 15% depending on whether actual or standard presence profiles are used. Therefore, presence profiles should be considered as a significant factor in the adjustment of input data in renovation projects. The final aim of this investigation is to determine the effect of using more accurate building and occupancy simulation parameters when assessing the feasibility of building renovation (payback period calculation for example). This paper focuses on the effect of presence profiles.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)985-998
Number of pages14
JournalBuilding Simulation
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019


  • building energy performance
  • occupancy monitoring
  • occupant behaviour
  • occupant patterns
  • occupant schedules
  • post-occupancy evaluation


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