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Establishing the Need for Tailored Energy Feedback Programs in Buildings
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Buildings account for 40% of energy consumption in the US. Despite all improvements in buildings shell, equipment, and design, CO2 emissions from buildings are increasing as a result of increased energy consumption. Since occupants spend more than 90% of their time indoors, they are inseparable and significant elements of building system dynamics. Hence, there is a great potential for energy efficiency in buildings using a wide range of programs such as education, intervention, energy feedback, etc. Due to advancement of technology and accessibility of high resolution energy consumption data, utility companies are enabled to focus on implementing energy feedback programs to induce energy efficiency and reduce the peak energy load in the commercial and residential sector. In order to better understand various aspects of energy feedback programs, in the first chapter of this dissertation, I conduct a comprehensive literature review on the state-of-the-art energy feedback study methods and identify gaps of knowledge and challenges faced by researchers in the field. Accordingly, the future research vision is laid out at the intersection of methods and gaps of knowledge used in energy feedback studies and future research opportunities and questions are provided. One of the major gaps of knowledge I identified in the literature review is the lack of quantitative analyses used to investigate the variability of occupant responses to commercial buildings energy feedback programs to evaluate the need for targeted and tailored energy feedback programs. In the second chapter, I conducted a comprehensive analysis on occupant energy-use responses under the influence of a uniform energy feedback program. Furthermore, I investigated the effectiveness of notifications on increasing the level of engagement of the occupants in these studies. The results supported the existence of a variability in responses and engagement level in a uniform energy feedback program which may be due to intra-class variability of occupant behavior. In the third chapter, based on the established need for a targeted energy feedback program, I investigate the predictability of occupant energy consumption behavior and its correlation with energy consumption. The results report that 46% of occupants may be good candidates for targeted energy feedback programs due to their combination of higher levels of energy-use and predictability of their energy consumption behavior.
- Doctoral Dissertations