Simulation of Occupancy in Buildings

Publication Type

Journal Article

Date Published





Occupants are involved in a variety of activities in buildings, which drive them to move among rooms, enter or leave a building. In this study, occupancy is defined at four levels and varies with time: (1) the number of occupants in a building, (2) occupancy status of a space, (3) the number of occupants in a space, and (4) the space location of an occupant. Occupancy has a great influence on internal loads and ventilation requirement, thus building energy consumption. Based on a comprehensive review and comparison of literature on occupancy modeling, three representative occupancy models, corresponding to the levels 2–4, are selected and implemented in a software module. Main contributions of our study include: (1) new methods to classify occupancy models, (2) the review and selection of various levels of occupancy models, and (3) new methods to integrate these model into a tool that can be used in different ways for different applications and by different audiences. The software can simulate more detailed occupancy in buildings to improve the simulation of energy use, and better evaluate building technologies in buildings. The occupancy of an office building is simulated as an example to demonstrate the use of the software module.


Energy and Buildings



Year of Publication



Research Areas

Related Files