Building Simulation: An International Journal

Article Title

A comprehensive simulation-based assessment of office building performance adaptability to teleworking scenarios in different Canadian climate zones


partial occupancy, thermostat setpoint, smart plug, demand-controlled ventilation (DCV), lighting


Recent studies have shown that office building systems do not adapt well to partial occupancy (e.g., from teleworking) and thus perform suboptimally. As a result, this study aims to assess office building performance adaptability by investigating the impact of four different technologies, including occupancy-based lighting, smart plugs (occupancy-based plug load), demand-controlled ventilation (DCV), occupancy-based thermostat, and their cumulative effect in office buildings in six different Canadian climates. A three-story office building is simulated in EnergyPlus version 9.3.0 under five occupancy scenarios, including 0% occupancy, 100% occupancy, 50% uniformly distributed occupancy across the floor, 50% consolidated occupancy scenario where occupants work in core zones, and 50% consolidated occupancy scenario where occupants work in perimeter zones. The results are compared using energy use intensity (EUI), energy use intensity per occupant (EUP), and the corresponding greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. A total of 180 simulations demonstrate the occupancy-adaptive technologies are generally most beneficial for low occupancy scenarios and milder climates. The results also show the cumulative impact of all these technologies on the potential energy savings is significant in the climates under consideration. Overall, the results show office buildings can improve their performance adaptability during partial occupancy by implementing the studied technologies. Aside from filling in the current knowledge gap in the literature on partial occupancy, the for the first time results of this study systemically demonstrate how each technology performs under different partial occupancy scenarios and how they perform together at each climate.