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An experimental user evaluation study: different applications of occupancy sensors in circulation areas

Karaman, Özge
Lighting has a significant share in electricity consumption of buildings. In this regard, use of suitable control strategies are essential to provide energy efficiency. In terms of lighting control, occupancy sensors are highly promoted by the building codes being the most cost-effective systems in the sector, especially for buildings where the occupancy patterns are not steady. However, widespread use of these systems is still limited. In the literature where there are many studies on energy saving potentials of occupancy sensors, there is no comprehensive research on the assessment of user satisfaction. In this study it is hypothesized that, “conventional use” itself may be the problem behind this dissatisfaction. In the conventional use, user steps in a dark area, only after, this area becomes lit. Especially in night use, this may cause discomfort to the occupants. To overcome this problem, two usercentric occupancy sensor-based scenarios are proposed in this research where user steps in an already lit or dimly lit area. An experimental setup was built to test feasibility of these scenarios along with the conventional occupancy sensor scenario and existing “no sensor” scenario. In total four different lighting control scenarios were tested by each participant in a controlled environment. Evaluation on the user satisfaction, comparison on energy saving potentials of these scenarios are presented. Main results revealed that conventional use of occupancy sensors was not favored by the participants in the night use. Use of proposed improved occupancy sensor scenarios (where participants stepped in already lit or dimly lit areas) were as favorable as the existing constantly lit situation. It is the claim of this study that both energy efficiency and user satisfaction can be provided in circulation areas in night use by the use of user-centric sensor-based lighting control systems. Widespread use of energy efficient lighting control systems can be possible.