Comparative effects of building envelope improvements and occupant behavioural changes on the exergy consumption for heating and cooling
Much focus is put on measures to improve the building envelope system performance to reduce the impact of the building sector on the global environmental degradation. This paper compares the potential of building envelope improvements to those of a change in the occupant's behavioural pattern. Three cases of improvements together with a base case were analysed using exergy analysis, because the exergy concept is useful to understand the underlying processes and the necessary adjustments to the calculation of the heat-pump system. The assumptions for the occupant behaviour were set up based on our field measurements conducted in a dormitory building and the calculation was for steady-state conditions. It was found that the potential of occupant behavioural changes for the reduction in exergy consumption is more affected by the outdoor temperature compared to building envelope improvements. The influence of occupant behaviour was highly significant (more than 90% decrease of exergy consumption) when the temperature difference between indoors and outdoors is small, which is the case for long periods in regions with moderate temperatures during summer and/or winter. Nevertheless, both measures combined lead to a reduction from 76% up to 95% depending on the outside conditions and should be the final goal.
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