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Solving the comfort-retrofit conundrum through post-occupancy evaluation and multi-objective optimisation

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Yu, CR 
Liu, X 
Yang, D 


jats:p Developing appropriate building retrofit strategies is a challenging task. This case study presents a multi-criteria decision-supporting method that suggests optimal solutions and alternative design references with a range of diversity at the early exploration stage in building retrofit. This method employs a practical two-step method to identify critical comfort and energy issues and generate optimised design options with multi-objective optimisation based on a genetic algorithm. The first step is based on a post-occupancy evaluation, which cross-refers benchmarking and correlation and integrates them with non-linear satisfaction theory to extract critical comfort factors. The second step parameterises previous outputs as objectives to conduct building simulation practice. The case study is a typical post-war highly glazed open-plan office in London. The post-occupancy evaluation result identifies direct sunlight glare, indoor temperature, and noise from other occupants as critical comfort factors. The simulation and optimisation extract the optimal retrofit strategies by analysing 480 generated Pareto fronts. The proposed method provides retrofit solutions with a criteria-based filtering method and considers the trade-off between the energy and comfort objectives. The method can be transformed into a design-supporting tool to identify the key comfort factors for built environment optimisation and create sustainability in building retrofit. </jats:p>jats:p Practical application: This study suggested that statistical analysis could be integrated with parametric design tools and multi-objective optimisation. It directly links users’ subjective opinions to the final design solutions, suggesting a new method for data-driven generative design. As a quantitative process, the proposed framework could be automated with a program, reducing the human effort in the optimisation process and reducing the reliance on human experience in the design question defining and analysis process. It might also avoid human mistakes, e.g. overlooking some critical factors. During the multi-objective optimisation process, large numbers of design options are generated, and many of them are optimised at the Pareto front. Exploring these options could be a less human effort-intensive process than designing completely new options, especially in the early design exploration phase. Overall, this might be a potential direction for future study in generative design, which greatly reduce the technical obstacle of sustainable design for high building performance. </jats:p>


Peer reviewed: True


Multi-objectives optimisation, occupancy comfort, post-occupancy evaluation, building performance simulation, computer-aided design

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SAGE Publications