Currently, design and control of HVAC system in buildings rely heavily on simulation tools. However, the common tools available often fail to optimize occupants’ comfort directly, nor do they consider real-time variations in occupancy that affect comfort and energy performance.
To address these limits, this research designed an occupancy-based and thermal comfort-driven building automation simulation model. A single-space prototype lab room was co-simulated using EnergyPlus and MATLAB with the help of BCVTB and MLE+ as middleware. Various climate scenarios from four cities in the U.S. in different seasons were examined. Results suggest that overall, compared to a conventional temperature-driven control strategy baseline, the proposed system can minimize thermal comfort violation (in term of PMV model, |PMV|>0.5 is considered as a violation) to 7% and reduce occupants’ thermal discomfort by 62.5% on average. Meanwhile, energy consumption remains same or reduced (up to 2% reduction). Due to its simplicity, this strategy is relatively easy to implement in real-world building automation systems with appropriate sensor placement in modern buildings.