Specifier Review
The University of Huddersfield – Inspiring Tomorrow's Professionals

Artificial intelligence used in major study analysing occupant behaviour to enhance building energy performance

The work, using AI’s Machine Learning, aims to combat and minimise the ‘energy performance gap’ in buildings

ARTIFICAL intelligence has been at the centre of many media reports recently and a researcher at the University of Huddersfield will demonstrate how it can be a better way to better predict building energy usage.

Rima Alaaeddine is a PhD researcher within the University’s School of Art Design and Architecture.  Her research aims to combat and minimise the ‘energy performance gap’ and could benefit the building sector at a time when there is increasing pressure on industries around the world to conserve their energy consumption.

The term ‘energy performance gap’ arises when a building consumes more energy than was initially predicted during the design phase.  This gap is attributed to a set of variables such as environmental conditions, building characteristics and occupancy.

Occupants have significant impacts on building energy use, and there is complexity in predicting how much energy a building’s occupants will consume and the way they individually interact with the building on a daily basis, known as ‘Occupants Behaviour’.

This includes actions such as their use of lighting, hot water, electricity, appliances and the way they interact with the building for example, opening windows and controlling their heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.

Rima’s research could play an important part in helping the construction industry meet strict energy efficiency targets, recently set by the UK Government as part of a new energy strategy.  With the energy consumption of buildings accounting for 30 per cent of the entire global energy use, improving the energy efficiency of buildings is one of the key strategic objectives.  More accurate energy predications can facilitate building energy optimisation and guide decisions regarding the building energy performance.

“My research will employ a branch of Artificial Intelligence (AI) entitled Machine Learning,” said Rima.

She explains how by employing machine learning techniques are capable of handling complex and non-linear problems and can offer more accurate predictions on occupants’ behaviour

Rima’s project is already receiving national recognition.  The 27-year-old researcher was shortlisted from hundreds of applicants from across the UK to present her research in Parliament, as part of the annual STEM for BRITAIN competition, to a range of politicians and a panel of expert judges.

The prestigious poster competition, headed by the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee, was organised in collaboration with the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Institute of Physics, the Royal Society of Biology, The Physiological Society and the Council for the Mathematical Sciences.

Rima’s entry was entitled ‘Minimizing the energy performance gap by application of an integrative machine learning methodology for occupants’ behaviour prediction’ and she said it was an honour taking part in STEM for BRITAIN and to be given the opportunity to present her work in Parliament.

“The event provided me with an opportunity to communicate my research as widely as possible, to inform and enthuse non-scientific audiences about my research in the building energy performance realm aiming to unveil the benefits it brings,” she said.

The University of Huddersfield – Inspiring Tomorrow's Professionals
Rima Alaaeddine

The University of Huddersfield – Inspiring Tomorrow’s Professionals

The University of Huddersfield has a growing reputation as an inspiring, innovative provider of higher education of international renown.  Recognised as a leader in enterprise and innovation, the University has been the recipient of the Times Higher Education’s University of the Year Award and Entrepreneurial University of the Year and was awarded a Queen’s Awards for Enterprise.  In the 2015, the University achieved 5 star status from international ratings organisation QS Stars in the areas of teaching, internationalisation, employability, and for facilities and access.   It is currently number one in England for the proportion of staff with teaching qualifications and recently became one of the few universities in the UK to be awarded the ‘Gold’ standard in the Government’s new Teaching Excellence Framework.

The University annually welcomes over 19,000 students to a range of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes across subjects covering…

…the sciences, engineering and IT

…health, education and the social sciences

…business, management, law and accountancy

…architecture, design, humanities and the arts.

The University of Huddersfield’s researchers are dedicated to solving the problems and answering the questions posed by industry, science and society as a whole.  Its research is showcased by internationally-recognised centres of excellence, strategic industry relationships and a commitment to providing state-of-the-art facilities and equipment.

The Chancellor of the University is His Royal Highness The Duke of York, KG, and the Vice-Chancellor is Professor Bob Cryan CBE.