Volume 2, 2017
|Number of page(s)||10|
|Section||Smart Monitors and Intelligent Building Controls|
|Published online||28 July 2017|
Effectiveness of using WiFi technologies to detect and predict building occupancy
Department of Civil Engineering, University of Manitoba,
E1 – 368 EITC, 15 Gilson St.,
R3T 5V6, Canada
2 Stantec Consulting Ltd., 500 – 311 Portage Ave, Winnipeg, MB R3B 2B9, Canada
* e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 13 June 2017
This paper presents findings of a case-study demonstrating the effectiveness of using WiFi networks to detect occupancy as opposed to CO2 sensors, commonly used for demand-controlled heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. The study took place in one building at the University of Manitoba Fort Garry campus in Canada. In a classroom, the number of WiFi connections was collected on an hourly basis over one-week, simultaneously with CO2 concentration levels at 10-min intervals. The number of occupants in this classroom was also counted on an hourly basis over the same study period. Data analysis showed that WiFi counts predicted actual occupancy levels more accurately than CO2 concentration levels, thus validating the use of this technology to track occupancy. This study was the first to use both CO2 concentration and WiFi counts simultaneously as indicators for occupancy. Results demonstrated the possibility of using WiFi counts in large buildings for controlling HVAC systems at a higher accuracy and lower cost than other sensor technologies.
Implications and influences: Given the large contribution of HVAC systems to overall buildings' energy consumption, this study presents a new method for efficiently operating HVAC systems. Results highlighted the accuracy of using WiFi connections as predictors for occupancy patterns to be used for controlling HVAC systems instead of CO2 sensors. These findings provide a foundation for further research on using WiFi networks to manage and operate HVAC systems in new buildings. Efficient operation of these systems based on real-time occupancy as opposed to static schedules provides facility managers with an opportunity for significant energy savings at a relatively low cost.
Key words: buildings energy management / occupancy and energy consumption / smart buildings systems / green buildings / sensor-based HVAC systems
© M.M. Ouf et al., published by EDP Sciences, 2017
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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