Assessing the impact of occupant behaviour on electricity consumption for lighting and small power in office buildings

Lighting and small power will typically account for more than half of the total electricity consumption in an office building. Significant variations in electricity used by different tenants suggest that occupants can have a significant impact on the electricity demand for these end-uses. Yet current modelling techniques fail to represent the interaction between occupant and the building environment in a realistic manner. Understanding the impact of such behaviours is crucial to improve the methodology behind current energy modelling techniques, aiming to minimise the significant gap between predicted and in-use performance of buildings. A better understanding of the impact of occupant behaviour on electricity consumption can also inform appropriate energy saving strategies focused on behavioural change. This paper reports on a study aiming to assess the intent of occupants to switch off lighting and appliances when not in use in office buildings. Based on the Theory of Planned Behaviour, the assessment takes the form of a questionnaire and investigates three predictors to behaviour individually: 1) behavioural attitude; 2) subjective norms; 3) perceived behavioural control. The paper details the development of the assessment procedure and discusses preliminary findings from the study. The questionnaire results are compared against electricity consumption data for individual zones within a multi-tenanted office building. Initial results demonstrate a statistically significant correlation between perceived behavioural control and energy consumption for lighting and small power.