The impact of occupancy patterns, occupant-controlled ventilation and shading on indoor overheating risk in domestic environments

A. Mavrogianni, M. Davies, J. Taylor, Z. Chalabi, P. Biddulph, E. Oikonomou, P. Das, B. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

76 Citations (Scopus)


It is widely recognised that a major source of uncertainty in building performance simulation relates to occupancy and behavioural assumptions. This paper aims to assess the relative impact of lifestyle patterns, occupant-controlled window opening and shading use on indoor overheating risk levels in dwellings. The indoor thermal environment of a set of broadly representative archetypes of the London housing stock was simulated using dynamic thermal modelling. Two lifestyle patterns and four scenarios of window opening and shading use schedules were combined with multiple other varying parameters (building geometry and orientation, insulation levels, level of overshadowing by adjacent buildings), leading to a total of 27,648 modelled dwelling variants. It was found that the rankings obtained for dwellings occupied by a family with children at school and dwellings occupied by pensioners were broadly similar for all combinations of behaviour and the majority of overheating metrics. Lower ranking correlations were, however, observed between simple temperature-dependent window opening scenarios and a more sophisticated scenario of combined shading and night ventilation. This is an indication that shading and/or night cooling could modify indoor overheating risk significantly. The findings of the study add to a growing body of literature suggesting that the way inhabitants occupy and operate a building has a measurable impact on thermal discomfort and potentially the health risks associated with their exposure to high indoor temperatures. This should be taken into consideration in the design of retrofit interventions and public health strategies aiming to minimise such risks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-198
Number of pages16
JournalBuilding and Environment
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Behaviour
  • Dwellings
  • Overheating
  • Shading
  • Simulation
  • Ventilation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Building and Construction


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