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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Occupant-Centric key performance indicators to inform building design and operations


Building performance indicators are widely used to guide building design and track and benchmark operational performance. Traditional building performance indicators mostly focus on the energy efficiency perspective. As occupants are the primary building service recipients in residential and most commercial buildings, their comfort and wellbeing are crucial. This study first identified significant attributes of occupant-centric key performance indicators (KPIs) and analyzed the diverse factors that should be considered in formulating an occupant-centric KPI. Then a suite of occupant-centric KPIs were synthesized from the review and enhancement of existing occupant-related performance metrics. The proposed occupant KPIs represent the occupant lens on three integrative aspects of building performance: resource use (including energy and water), indoor environmental quality, and human–building interactions. A simulation-based case study was conducted to demonstrate how occupant-centric KPIs can be used to quantify the impacts of building operation changes from the occupants’ point of view. Highlights: Occupant-centric metrics are currently ad hoc and limited, yet crucial to inform building design and operations. Literature was reviewed to reveal the state-of-the-art and gaps of occupant-centric metrics. A suite of occupant-centric key performance indicators (KPIs) covering five groups of building services were synthesized. Proposed occupant KPIs represent three aspects of performance: resource use and demand, occupant comfort and health, and human–building interactions. A case study using whole building simulation was conducted to demonstrate the use of occupant-centric KPIs in evaluating building operations during a power outage.

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