Task-based paradigm for the design of office occupant-building interactions

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Kalvelage, Kelly Jo
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Dorneich, Michael C
Bloebaum, Christina
Gilbert, Stephen
Krecji, Caroline
Passe, Ulrike
Whitehead, Robert
Committee Member
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Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies
The indoor environment has a major impact on our health, safety, and well-being. Many factors related to the climate, building, and occupants inform the indoor environment. Building control systems have made it possible to produce, regulate, and coordinate the indoor environment factors to produce an indoor environment that is comfortable, productive, safe, and efficient. These control systems encompass occupant-building interactions. This research explored the process for designing occupant-building interactions. Specifically, this work investigated the following research questions: 1) what occupant-building interactions factors are required for inclusion in an evaluation platform to measure task performance, occupant satisfaction, and building energy demand; 2) what control strategy best balances task performance, occupant satisfaction, and building energy demand; and 3) what interaction paradigm supports that control strategy? Designing occupant-building interactions requires knowledge in building engineering systems, architectural design, and human factors. An interdisciplinary research approach leveraged the multifaceted perspectives and methods to answer the research questions that framed this study. The purpose was to establish a paradigm for designing occupant-building interactions. This work established a task-based approach for designing building control systems in a commercial office building. Using the user-centered design theory based on tasks, this research describes an interdisciplinary approach to analyze, parameterize, model, evaluate, and design occupant-building interactions for a commercial office building. Office work domain data were collected and analyzed to generate a deeper understanding of tasks occupants perform in an office work domain. Next, the data were parameterized for use in an agent-based model (ABM) to study task-based occupant behavior. The ABM consists of a building energy model and an occupant behavior model. Using the ABM, various control strategies were evaluated to determine the strategy that best balanced task performance, occupant satisfaction, and building energy demand. Finally, an interaction paradigm is presented. Using the selected control strategy, a preliminary prototype was created to demonstrate the paradigm in use. This task-based approach to occupant-building interactions bridges the gaps between the disciplines for research collection, simulation, and implementation. The approach accounts for the climate, building, and occupant factors that influence the indoor environment. Proper consideration of these factors leads to a successfully designed building control system that produces a comfortable, productive, safe, and efficient indoor environment; an indoor environment that greatly affects our health, safety, and well-being.