An ontology to represent synthetic building occupant characteristics and behavior

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Journal Article

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Since the introduction of the occupant behavior Drivers-Needs-Actions-Systems (DNAS) framework in 2013, researchers have used the framework or further developed it based on their case studies, which include efforts to collect new data on occupant behaviors. The effort is often costly for the relatively few new data points added. Problems emerge when the already collected data do not meet the modelers’ interoperability requirements. Previous studies addressed this issue by developing more sophisticated ontologies that enable integration with other datasets and synthetic data methodologies that would meet unique research applications. This paper presents an extension of the DNAS framework for the representation of synthetic occupant data to support various applications and use cases across the building life cycle. An agent-based modeling application is one of our motivations that requires more elaborate characteristics of an occupant-agent or a group-of-agent. The extension, built upon a review of the literature, introduces new elements to the framework that fall into five categories, including socio-economic, geographical location, activities, subjective values, and individual and collective adaptive actions. On-going research includes identifying occupant datasets and developing data fusion methods to generate synthetic occupants, as well as to demonstrate its applications in agent-based modeling coupled with building performance simulation.


Automation in Construction



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