Assessing occupants' energy load variation through existing wireless network infrastructure in commercial and educational buildings

Jiayu Chen, Changbum Ahn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

37 Scopus citations


Providing energy-consumption feedback has proven to be an effective approach for changing people's behavior and has led to significant energy-consumption reductions in residential buildings. However, providing feedback in commercial and educational buildings is challenging because of the difficulty in tracking occupants' behaviors and their corresponding energy usage - especially for temporary occupants. To make providing such feedback possible in commercial and educational buildings, this paper presents the framework for a coupled system that uses residents' wireless devices' Wi-Fi connection and disconnection events to detect occupancy and then benchmarks energy loads against these events to monitor the energy use of occupants. A preliminary experiment implemented the proposed approach in a small-scale educational building to ascertain whether Wi-Fi network connection/disconnection events can be an effective indicator of energy load variation. The experiment's results confirmed the positive relationship between the Wi-Fi connection events and energy load increase; these results also indicated that the number of Wi-Fi connections cannot directly represent the magnitude of the energy load. A validation test was also conducted to assess the robustness of the coupled system in terms of the impact of users' schedules (AM/PM), their length of stay (long-term/temporary), and the locations of access points.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)540-549
Number of pages10
JournalEnergy and Buildings
StatePublished - Oct 2014



  • Commercial and educational buildings
  • Energy efficiency
  • Energy load variation
  • Feedback
  • Wi-Fi network

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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