Data-driven Analysis of the Impact of Occupants' Preference on Building Performance in Classroom Spaces

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Duran A., Gürsel Dino I.

Joint CIB WO99 & W123 Annual International Conference 2021, Glasgow, Scotland, 9 - 10 September 2021, pp.245-255

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Full Text
  • City: Glasgow
  • Country: Scotland
  • Page Numbers: pp.245-255
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Occupant behavior is a prominent factor affecting occupants' well-being indoors. Occupants' thermal satisfaction is subjective, as the sensation of comfort is subjective and depends on physiological factors. Variations in the occupants' thermal preferences have a significant impact on building performance and occupant's comfort. However, occupants' behavior and preferences are standardized in building simulations with generalized assumptions on comfort conditions. For this reason, their influence on the building performance and occupants' desired comfort conditions are neglected. Particularly, educational buildings should provide their occupants' satisfactory indoor environments as indoor conditions play a determinant role in the performance, productivity, attendance, and health of both students and teachers. Classrooms generally operate at full capacity, leading to high internal gains, severe indoor overheating, and increased carbon dioxide concentration levels if not adequately ventilated. This study presents a data-driven methodology to analyze the impact of occupants' preferences on their comfort in classroom spaces and its environmental impact. Based on the simulation outputs, three prediction models with different decision tree (DT) algorithms (Classification and Regression Trees, Random Forest, and Extreme Gradient Boosting) are build and compared. In order to understand relationships between input features and outputs, in other words, occupant-controlled building parameters' effect on well-being in classrooms and the environmental impact, DT feature importance's are calculated. There is a tradeoff between resource consumption and occupant comfort and well-being should be maintained in school buildings, especially in classrooms. In this study, occupant well-being in classroom spaces is related to thermal comfort and indoor air quality. A naturally ventilated classroom space facing south in Ankara, Turkey, is selected as a case study.