Human-Building Interaction

Our research has highlighted the challenges of understanding, simulating, and designing for the complex interactions between buildings and occupants. This inspired us to investigate how occupant behavior impacts building-energy performance and, conversely, how energy-related building-design decisions impact occupant health. In short, our focus is on human-building interaction.

This topic area includes multiple current research projects including:

  • New benchmarking methods for buildings based on energy use, comfort, and health
  • Architectural design considerations for healthy sleep environments in low-energy buildings
  • A framework for considering energy performance and mold risks
  • Importance of cultural understanding in building energy analysis and simulation


Team Members:
Holly Samuelson, Jose “Memo” Cedeno Laurent (Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health), Yujiao Chen (DDes), Esteban Estrella (MDes), Jungmin (Ellie) Han (DDes), Pamela Cabrera (MDes), Kenner Carmody (MDes), Christine Voehringer (MDes), Wenting Li (MDes), Christine Tiffin (MDes), Shreejay Tulhadar (MDes)

Affiliated Publications: 

“Optimal Control of HVAC and Window Systems for Natural Ventilation Through Reinforcement Learning,” Chen, Y., Norford, L., Samuelson, H., Malkawi, A., Energy and Buildings, March 2018.

The Impact of Window Opening and Other Occupant Behavior on Simulated Energy Performance in Residence Halls,” Cedeno Laurent, J. G., Samuelson, H.W., Chen, Y., Building Simulation, December 2017