Enhancing Occupant Comfort and Building Sustainability: Lessons from an Internet of Things-Based Study on Centrally Controlled Indoor Shared Spaces in Hot Climatic Conditions

Parag Kulkarni, Bivin Pradeep, Rahemeen Yusuf, Henry Alexander, Hesham ElSayed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

It is well known that buildings have a sizeable energy and environmental footprint. In particular, in environments like university campuses, the occupants as well as occupancy in shared spaces varies over time. Systems for cooling in such environments that are centrally controlled are typically threshold driven and do not account for occupant feedback and thus are often relying on a reactive approach (fix after identifying problems). Therefore, having a fixed thermal operating set point may not be optimal in such cases—both from an occupant comfort and well-being as well as an energy efficiency perspective. To address this issue, a study was conducted which involved development and deployment of an experimental Internet of Things (IoT) prototype system and an Android application that facilitated people engagement on a university campus located in the UAE which typically exhibits hot climatic conditions. This paper showcases data driven insights obtained from this study, and in particular, how to achieve a balance between the conflicting goals of improving occupant comfort and energy efficiency. Findings from this study underscore the need for regular reassessments and adaptation. The proposed solution is low cost and easy to deploy and has the potential to reap significant savings through a reduction in energy consumption with estimates indicating around 50–100 kWh/day of savings per building and the resulting environmental impact. These findings would appeal to stakeholders who are keen to improve energy efficiency and reduce their operating expenses and environmental footprint in such climatic conditions. Furthermore, collective action from a large number of entities could result in significant impact through this cumulative effect.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1406
JournalSensors
Volume24
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024

Keywords

  • building sustainability
  • energy efficiency
  • Internet of Things (IoT)
  • occupant comfort

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Information Systems
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biochemistry
  • Instrumentation
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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