Spatial use patterns in Flemish dwellings: analysis and impact on energy consumption

In Flanders, houses are relatively large in comparison to other countries and research shows that a big part of the spaces in these houses are underused. At this moment, there are little insights in the walking and use patterns in these houses, as well as in the seasonal use of them. However, the effective space use has a crucial impact on the actual energy consumption. Currently, rooms are too much climatized, while only a part of them is used effectively. The energy efficiency of dwellings can be increased if the design of the house, as well as the systems for heating, lightning and ventilation, are better adapted to the actual use patterns within the house.

In this doctoral research, the actual-space use in Flemish houses will be analysed. First, a methodology to monitor the walking and use patterns in the houses will be developed. The techniques that are used today are mainly indirect and imprecise (CO2 concentration measurements, light sensors in doorways, surveys of residents,…). To gain insights in the effective walking and use patterns inside each area, a more detailed positioning technique is required. With a quantitative measurement campaign, the space use in Flemish houses will be mapped and analysed. Afterwards, it will be examined whether the spatial use patterns can be used to improve the effective space and energy use, for example bydeveloping personalized heating systems or by applying dynamic living concepts. The insights can also be used to improve energy simulations, in which user profiles play an important role. This doctoral research is in line with current research within the Sustainability group of Arck, in which seasonal dwelling concepts are developed through research by design, based on spatial use patterns.

PhD Researcher: Nick Van Loy

Promotor: Knapen Elke and (co-promotor) Verbeeck Griet