A study on occupant behaviour related to air-conditioning usage in residential buildings

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

18 Scopus Citations
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  • Dawei Xia
  • Yu Huang
  • Yang Zhao
  • Xiaoqing Zhou


Original languageEnglish
Article number109446
Journal / PublicationEnergy and Buildings
Online published21 Sep 2019
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2019


Residential buildings are typically associated with high energy consumption, especially because of air-conditioning (AC) usage. Occupant behaviour can noticeably affect how an AC operates and thereby contribute to the increasing energy consumption. This problem is more pronounced with the split-type air-conditioner that is popular in South China. This study identified three representative patterns related to occupancy and AC on/off settings according to AC operation recordings from 102 bedrooms in several residential buildings of metropolitan Guangzhou, South China. Bedroom AC operation details were recorded using individual smart socket units. The resulting data showed clustering for daily on/off times, the duration of each operation, and AC ‘run-over-night’ probability. These clusters revealed three user-configuration patterns (i.e. night-time AC usage only (49%), both night-time and noon AC usage (6%), and low AC usage (45%)). Occupant age, total floors, and room area indices were most closely related to occupant behavioural patterns. Results indicated that AC units should be ‘turned on’ in timed steps when operation rates are higher than 30% or 20% to achieve acceptable thermal comfort performance. These findings should be useful for those intending to reduce overall energy consumption because the analysed schedules were based on realistic usage rather than conventional assumption (i.e. the full-time/full-space usage).

Research Area(s)

  • Air-conditioning, Clustering, Residential building, User behaviour