How occupants interact with buildings is a key factor in the success of energy efficient project planning, design, operations and decision-making. Recent research on building performance has focused on better understanding the roles and behavior of occupants, including default conditions and setpoints; institutional frameworks; organizational culture; and peer pressure. While much research has been directed to observing and understanding occupant behavior, what is needed are strategies that positively reinforce desired behavior. We also need to focus on changing not only occupant behavior, but design, specification, and investment behavior. Understanding the relative impact of technology-based vs. behavior-based strategies – and combinations of the two – is a key to market transformation to improve building energy performance. Ambitious sustainability goals, including California’s initiatives to achieve ZNE, will require pushing building performance to exemplary levels.
Pacific Energy Center
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