A critical review of field implementations of occupant-centric building controls

June Young Park*, Mohamed M. Ouf, Burak Gunay, Yuzhen Peng, William O'Brien, Mikkel Baun Kjærgaard, Zoltan Nagy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Recent developments in information and communication technology have sparked the notion of smart buildings; an example of which is occupant-centric control (OCC). In this approach, a control system acquires various data from occupants, the indoor environment, and outdoor climate, and learns or derives useful information for building control, e.g., room occupancy patterns and adaptive set-points. Ultimately, these adaptive control parameters are used to improve both occupant comfort and energy efficiency. Typical OCC approaches have been put forward in concept papers, small-scale experiments, as well as simulations. However, there are relatively few studies in which OCC is implemented in real buildings. In this article, we review OCC research, focusing on field-implementation case studies in actual buildings under realistic use conditions. First, we analyze the topical aspects of these studies, e.g., building types, location, and building systems. Next, we present a methodological review focusing on the different approaches used to implement OCC in existing building systems. Lastly, we investigate the experimental design approach of the reviewed case studies, focusing on measurement and verification techniques. Results highlight wide discrepancies in the implementation approach of OCC case studies and identify common challenges facing OCC in actual buildings. We propose future directions for OCC research by providing recommendations to address these challenges and to standardize OCC implementations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106351
JournalBuilding and Environment
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019


  • Building energy
  • Occupant behavior
  • Occupant comfort
  • Occupant-centric control
  • Smart building


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