Forecasting building occupancy: A temporal-sequential analysis and machine learning integrated approach


Building occupancy is the basis for building energy simulations, operations, and management. With the increasing need for energy conservation and the occupant-centric service of building energy systems, occupancy forecasting has become an essential input for simulations. These applications include model predictive control and demand response, with the potential to optimize the use of renewable energy sources. Based on recent research, occupancy forecasting tends to be based on occupancy data of the previous time step or continuous lagged dependent variables. Previous analysis demonstrated that building occupancy is innately temporal and sequential with seasonal features, which may be instructive for forecast research. This study proposes a temporal-sequential (TS) analysis and machine learning integrated approach for occupancy forecasting. Using hourly occupant data from 16 different buildings, we demonstrate that the proposed temporal-sequential analysis using a 1-week seasonal period with an artificial neural network structure (TS-week-ANN) outperforms other baseline methods.

Energy and Buildings