All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Robert W Peters

Advisory Committee Members

Jason T Kirby

Virginia Sisiopiku

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Master of Civil Engineering (MCE) School of Engineering


Energy costs are increasing at an alarming rate, and electricity use can contribute to carbon emissions and, therefore, to global warming. With this in mind and under direction of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Facilities Management Department, researchers conducted building occupancy surveys of UAB buildings after working hours and on weekends to evaluate occupancy by day and time and by lighting condition of unoccupied rooms. The goals of this research consisted of identifying situations in which measures such as motion sensor installation or heating and/or air conditioning shutdown or setback could result in energy and cost savings and evaluating instances in which excessive unnecessary lighting is being used. Surveys were typically conducted every 2-3 hours, from 5:00 p.m. to 12:15 a.m. on weeknights, and all day on weekends (from 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.), for at least one week's worth of surveys. Individual surveys were ideally conducted as follows: Starting at the nominal time, a member of the research team began surveying the entire building. Each room was investigated for two criteria: occupancy and lighting. If there were any occupants in the room, the number was counted and recorded. If there were no lights on in the room, a zero (0) was recorded; if 1-50% of the lights were on in the room, a "P" was recorded, for partial lighting; and if more than 50% of the lights were on in the room, a zero with a slash through it (ؘ), which is defined as full lighting, was recorded. These results were summed for the entire building, averaged, and compared statistically. It was found that, over time, occupancy of buildings on weeknights follows an exponential decay function. Next, three metrics and building ranking methodologies for energy efficiency were defined. Then the different occupancy classes of buildings were compared and found to have no significant differences in overall ranking for these metrics. Last, some recommendations for reducing each of the metrics were discussed.

Included in

Engineering Commons



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