Tracking Energy Load through Indoor Positioning System

Providing energy-consumption feedback has the potential to change people’s behavior, a reality that has led to significant energy-usage reductions in residential buildings. However, it is challenging to provide feedback in commercial buildings because it is difficult to track occupants’ behaviors and their corresponding energy usage—especially for temporary occupants. 

Project Summary

In order to make providing energy feedback possible in commercial buildings, this research aims at proposing a coupled system that monitors the energy load for occupants who have Wi-Fi-enabled devices. The system benchmarks energy loads using an energy monitoring system that simultaneously detects occupancy through Wi-Fi access points. With the information gathered about occupancy and individual occupant’s energy load, this coupled system is able to identify those candidates who – when provided relevant feedback – would have the potential to save energy. A preliminary experiment was conducted in an educational building to illustrate the data processing procedure and to test the validity of the system. The proposed system is the prototype of a coupled system that, in the future, will be able to estimate individual’s energy load through an indoor positioning system and, in turn, provide corresponding energy-consumption feedback.


Longquan Diao, Yongjun Sun and Jiayu Chen* , 2016, “Modeling energy consumption in residential buildings: A bottom-up analysis based on occupant behavior pattern clustering and stochastic simulation”, Energy and Buildings, (Under Review)

Wei Wang, Jiayu Chen* and Yujie Lu, 2016, “Demand-driven HVAC Control in Large Space based on Occupancy Distribution through Indoor Positioning Systems”, Automation in Construction, (Under Review)

Zhun Yu, Jiayu Chen , Yongjun Sun* and Guoqiang Zhang, “A GA-based system sizing method for net-zero energy buildings considering multi-criteria performance requirements under parameter uncertainties“, Energy and Buildings, 2016, 129: 524-534.

Jiayu Chen and Ahn, C. R.*  “Assessing Occupants’ Energy Load Variation through Existing Wireless Network Infrastructure in Commercial and Educational Building.”, Energy and Buildings, 2014, 82: 540-549.

Collaborators and Students


Smart and Sustainable Construction Group aims at understanding the dynamic construction environment and resolving challenges in the identification of safety hazards within a construction jobsite. Jiayu used to work with Dr. Changbum Ahn on the building energy efficiency and construction safety research.


Dr. Changbum Ahn;

Mr. Hamed Nabizadeh Rafsanjani

Research Projects

Developing active building energy management system base on coupled Wi-Fi and BLE indoor positioning system (IPS)

PI, JCYJ20150518163139952, The Shenzhen Science and Technology Funding Programs ( Special Program for Energy Conservation), Oct 2016 – Sep 2018, RMB 340,000

Building occupancy information is the premise of modern building service systems’ control and operation. Inaccurate occupancy information could results in insufficient comfort level and energy waste. Current occupancy detecting system relies on indirect and low resolution environmental sensors, which potentially mislead facility managers and result in inefficiency in building energy use. In this project, we proposed a novel occupancy detecting system through a coupled indoor positioning system. The system integrates Wi-Fi and BLE networks and implements a stochastic positioning algorithm to collect high resolution occupancy data. The system not only able to identify the geospatial distribution of occupants, but also track their movements in a network covered space.

Developing Effective Eco-feedback Platform to Benchmark Building Energy Consumption and Carbon Dioxide Emission and Promote Energy Saving Behavior and Awareness in Hong Kong

PI, #9211074 (25/2014), Hong Kong Environment and Conservation Fund (ECF), Mar 2015 – Mar 2017, HKD 455,000

This project aims at developing an effective eco-feedback platform enable building occupants to benchmark their energy consumptions and carbon dioxide (CO2) emission with other similar buildings to promote their awareness and take actions to conserve energy and reduce CO2 emission. The proposed project will have a direct and practical contribution towards the environmental and resource conservation in Hong Kong. The project will also introduce an innovative platform, which also encourages the adoption of new technologies, such as smart energy meters and eco-feedback systems. Starting from middle schools and high schools participants, the project will benefit the whole building industries and energy market in Hong Kong. The objectives of the proposed project are: (1) to develop a platform to automatically collect the data that reading from smart energy meters and allow occupants to access their real-time energy consumption and carbon emission data and also benchmark their performance with other buildings, (2) to investigate multiple type of feedback information and identify the most effective feedback to promote conservation behavior, (3) to sustain the conservation behavior through the design of the platform and feedback portfolio, (4) to release the developed platform to public and disseminate the research results to academic community, industrial practitioners and policy-making organizations.