Developing occupant archetypes within urban low-income housing: A case study in Mumbai, India
Rapid urbanization pressure and poverty have created a push for affordable housing within the global south. The design of affordable housing can have consequences on the thermal (dis)comfort and behaviour of the occupants, hence requiring an occupant-centric approach to ensure sustainability. This paper investigates occupant behaviour within the urban poor households of Mumbai, India and its impact on their thermal comfort and energy use. This study is a first-of-its-kind attempt to explore the socio-demographic characteristics and energy-related behaviour of low-income occupants within Indian context. Three occupant archetypes, Indifferent Consumers; Considerate Savers; and Conscious Conventionals, were identified from the behavioural and psychographic characteristics gathered through a transverse field survey. A two-step clustering approach was adopted for occupant segmentation that highlighted considerable diversity in occupants’ adaptation measures, energy knowledge, energy habits, and their pro-environmental behaviour within similar socio-economic group. Building energy simulation of the representative archetype behaviour estimated up to 37% variations for air-conditioned and up to 8% variation for fan-assisted naturally ventilated housing units during peak summer months. The results from this study establish the significance of occupant factors in shaping energy demand and thermal comfort within low-income housing and pave way for developing occupant-centric building design strategies to serve this marginalized population. The developed low-income occupant archetypes would be useful for architects and energy modelers to generate realistic energy use profiles and improve building performance simulation results.