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A high-resolution domestic building occupancy model for energy demand simulations

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journal contribution
posted on 01.06.2009 by Ian Richardson, Murray Thomson, David Infield
Energy use in the home is a major source of carbon emissions and is highly dependent on the activities of the residents. More specifically, the timing of energy use, particularly electricity, is highly dependent on the timing of the occupants’ activities. Thus, in order to model domestic demand profiles with high temporal resolution, for example in the context of designing and assessing demand side management systems (including the time-shifting of demand), it is of great benefit to take account of residents’ behaviour in terms of when they are likely to be using household appliances, lighting and heating. This paper presents a thorough and detailed method for generating realistic occupancy data for UK households, based upon surveyed timeuse data describing what people do and when. The approach presented generates statistical occupancy time-series data at a ten-minute resolution and takes account of differences between weekdays and weekends. The model also indicates the number of occupants that are active within a house at a given time, which is important for example in order to model the sharing of energy use (shared use of appliances etc.) The data from the model can be used as input to any domestic energy model that uses occupancy time-series as a base variable, or any other application that requires detailed occupancy data. The model has been implemented in Excel and is available for free download.



  • Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering

Research Unit

  • Centre for Renewable Energy Systems Technology (CREST)


RICHARDSON, I., THOMSON, M. and INFIELD, D., 2008. A high-resolution domestic building occupancy model for energy demand simulations. Energy and Buildings, 40 (8), pp.1560-1566


© Elsevier


AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publication date



This article was published in the journal, Energy and Buildings [© Elsevier] and the definitive version is available at: ; the model discussed in this paper is available at:






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