Occupant-centric metadata paradigms for comfort optimization in buildings

Kipp Bradford, James Coleman, Forrest Meggers

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Three decades of building performance standards have resulted in a meaningful reduction in energy consumption in commercial buildings, but limited improvement in thermal comfort has been observed. ASHRAE Standard 55, the primary reference used to design and operate “comfortable” buildings, specifies six thermodynamic factors that must be addressed to provide comfort in a space. In practice, survey data reports only a small percentage of buildings are considered satisfactory by occupants. We perform a literature review to demonstrate that the range of each of the six thermodynamic dimensions of comfort can be observed well outside of the applicability of ASHRAE 55 in real buildings. The typical practice of modulating air temperature (Ta) is shown to result in frequent occupant dissatisfaction. We posit that to be able to more consistently operate within a given “comfort zone” in a wider range of thermodynamic environments, we must embed within building systems higher-dimensional, occupant-centric parameters. To understand if two popular metadata schemas, Project Haystack and Brick Schema, are equipped to support higher-dimensional control paradigms, we (1) define a model, measure, manipulate (M3) evaluation criteria, which we (2) apply to each of the above schemas to determine if they can be used to codify closed-loop control for a given set of thermodynamic dimensions of comfort. We conclude that recent extensions to the Brick Schema provide much of the background necessary to codify closed control loops in six dimensions, and that Project Haystack requires a greater expansion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number092031
JournalJournal of Physics: Conference Series
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2023
Event2023 International Conference on the Built Environment in Transition, CISBAT 2023 - Hybrid, Lausanne, Switzerland
Duration: Sep 13 2023Sep 15 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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