Understanding patterns of adaptive comfort behaviour in the Sydney mixed-mode residential context

Kim, Jungsoo; de Dear, Richard; Parkinson, Thomas; Candido, Christhina , Energy and Buildings ,141(2017), 274-283

The role of occupants is important as building energy consumption is significantly attributed to their behaviour. Given the diverse activities within, and high levels of personal control over the indoor environment, occupants’ behaviour is one of the key uncertainties in predicting energy use in the residential sector. With an aim to better understand residential adaptive thermal comfort behaviours, longitudinal field observations were conducted with smartphone surveys and simultaneous temperature measurements in a sample of Australian homes (n = 42). This paper derives statistical models to enable predicting of the percentage of adaptive strategies in use (e.g. operation of air-conditioners, heaters, fans and windows), as a function of temperature. The analysis on our Sydney sample indicated that an outdoor temperature of 25 °C was the most favourable condition, inclusive of all seasons investigated throughout the 2-year monitoring period, maximising the use of natural ventilation and simultaneously minimising the householders’ dependence on their home air-conditioning system. This study also revealed personal and demographic characteristics that can have a significant impact on the householder’s decision to use their air-conditioning system.

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