An international review of occupant-related aspects of building energy codes and standards


In light of recent research, it is evident that occupants are playing an increasingly important role in building energy performance. Despite the important role of building energy codes and standards in design, the occupant-related aspects are typically simple and have not kept up with the leading research. This paper reviews 23 regions’ building energy codes and standards by first comparing their quantitative aspects and then analyzing their mandated rules and approaches. While the present paper focuses on offices, general recommendations are applicable to other building types as well. The review revealed a wide range of occupant-related values, approaches, and attitudes. For example, code-specified occupant density varies by nearly a factor of three between different codes. This underlines the need for development of advancement in occupant behavior modeling approaches for future occupant-centric building performance codes and standards. Moreover, occupants are often referred to only implicitly; underlying expectations about energy-saving occupant behavior from building occupants varies greatly; and, only a few codes address occupant feedback and system usability. Based on the findings of the review, a set of initial recommendations for future building energy codes is proposed.

Building and Environment
Quan Jin
Quan Jin
Senior researcher

Quan Jin is Senior Researcher in the research group Sustainable Building at the Division of Building Technology, and in the Area of advance Energy. She conducts research on indoor environmental quality from multiple disciplinary perspectives, and their impact on building energy efficiency and occupant health and comfort. The goal is to create tools and knowledge to improve human well-being and productivity in sustainable buildings while minimizing the energy consumption.