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Opsis Architecture has teamed with Portland State University’s Research-Based Design Initiative to study occupant behavior and energy consumption. The relationship between people and building control systems is a critical factor in overall building energy performance. Conventional energy models rely on static, overly simplistic patterns of occupant behavior and are unable to provide energy performance predictions that reflect realistic use. Thoughtfully designed passive systems are ineffective unless operated as intended, resulting in a performance gap between predicted energy consumption and measured energy consumption post-occupancy. Utilizing virtual reality (VR) simulation with game engine technology, this team is studying the potential of VR to both predict and influence user interaction within specific spaces and environmental conditions. This study will take place over two quarters, Fall 2017 and Winter 2018. During the fall quarter, we are focusing on new ways of training by analyzing VR’s gaming capabilities to build upon the users’ emotional relationship with a space, improving their ability and desire to better utilize passive and advanced systems such as shades, ceiling fans, lighting controls, and operable windows. The finished product will transform the way the profession thinks about post-occupancy training, energy modeling, and influencing behavior through design.
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