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Post Occupancy Evaluation of buildings in a Zero Carbon City


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This paper presents a methodology to monitor the performance of buildings in a Zero Carbon City from the occupant perspective. Masdar City in Abu Dhabi is hailed as the World's pioneering Zero Carbon Zero Waste city. The initial phase of construction is complete and the first students have moved into the residential quarters of the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology (MIST) in September 2010. Although the study monitors both Carbon and Waste, this paper outlines a Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE) to assess the resident's satisfaction and building performance at MIST. The research focuses on the role that user behaviour and satisfaction plays on energy efficiency. It is hoped that such an approach will allow building performance to be normalized for user behaviour and to examine how best to commission, explain and handover complex low energy developments to new residents. It is hoped that the residents' reaction and adaptation to the first Zero Carbon Zero Waste city will provide valuable insights that can be applied to future low energy developments.
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Sustainable Cities and Society 5 (2012) 23–25
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Post Occupancy Evaluation of buildings in a Zero Carbon City
T. Kansara, I. Ridley
Bartlett School of Graduate Studies, University College London, UK
article info
Masdar City
Abu Dhabi
Post Occupancy Evaluation
Sustainable City
This paper presents a methodology to monitor the performance of buildings in a Zero Carbon City from
the occupant perspective. Masdar City in Abu Dhabi is hailed as the World’s pioneering Zero Carbon
Zero Waste city. The initial phase of construction is complete and the first students have moved into
the residential quarters of the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology (MIST) in September 2010.
Although the study monitors both Carbon and Waste, this paper outlines a Post Occupancy Evaluation
(POE) to assess the resident’s satisfaction and building performance at MIST. The research focuses on the
role that user behaviour and satisfaction plays on energy efficiency. It is hoped that such an approach will
allow building performance to be normalized for user behaviour and to examine how best to commission,
explain and handover complex low energy developments to new residents. It is hoped that the residents’
reaction and adaptation to the first Zero Carbon Zero Waste city will provide valuable insights that can
be applied to future low energy developments.
© 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
1. Masdar City
Masdar City is an initiative conceived in 2006 by the Abu Dhabi
Future Energy Company (ADFEC). This is a subsidiary of Mubadala
Property Holdings owned by the government.
The vision for Masdar is to follow the recommendation of the
Emirate’s economic development goals to secure a test-bed of
renewable energy and sustainable technologies. Since inception,
the Abu Dhabi – Urban Planning Council (UPC) has produced recom-
mendations for the local construction industry. Two key initiatives
are Estidama, the sustainability department at UPC and the Pearl
Rating System (PRS) to legislate future Low-Carbon build.
One of the many aspirations of Dr Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber – CEO
of the project is to create a sustainable community adopting an
environmentally friendly lifestyle aided by the application of tech-
nology in the built environment. The aims and aspirations can be
summarised by the following key benchmarks:
Net zero Carbon emissions zone, and improved air quality inside
and outside buildings.
80% Reduction in energy consumption from Abu Dhabi “Business
as Usual” baseline.
The aim of this research which forms the basis of a PhD study, is
to examine the role played by resident behaviour in achieving these
Corresponding author.
E-mail addresses:,
(T. Kansara), (I. Ridley).
benchmarks, focussing on Phase 1a (MIST) within the Masdar City
development. MIST is an independent, research-driven graduate
institute developed with the ongoing support and cooperation of
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
This paper outlines a study of Post Occupancy Evaluation with a
view to monitoring energy. This assesses the residents’ satisfaction
with the building performance, comparing the results to the initial
benchmarks set for Masdar.
1.1. Post Occupancy Evaluation
POE is an “evaluation of buildings in a systematic and rigorous
manner after they have been built and occupied” (Preiser, 1995).
It is a system of analysis which monitors and measures the perfor-
mance of a building using data gathered from environmental, social
and energy monitoring. The method includes the use of surveys and
questionnaires as well as technical monitoring to understand the
reality of the buildings’ performance once occupied.
In September 2010 the UPC launched the Pearl Rating System
(PRS) where all buildings must adhere to the three-part process of
creating a more carbon-efficient build. The three key areas include:
Design; Construction; and Post Occupancy. This mandatory initia-
tive is the first in the Middle East run by government to educate
and bring awareness to all areas of the construction industry. The
PRS aims to introduce an assessment of buildings two years after
occupation. This is a timely and pioneering act by the Abu Dhabi
government to reduce their per capita energy consumption. Some
POE studies have been carried out in educational buildings in the
UAE (Gabr & Al-Sallal, 2003). A full POE of MIST will provide a
detailed data set for comparison with other regional developments.
2210-6707/$ – see front matter © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Author's personal copy
24 T. Kansara, I. Ridley / Sustainable Cities and Society 5 (2012) 23–25
Fig. 1. Schematic of methodology.
How residents respond to socio-technical energy conservation
initiatives can help to deconstruct the original design assumptions
made by the designers. Stage M from The Royal Institute of British
Architects ‘Plan of Work’ (RIBA, 1973) mentions a need for archi-
tects to close the loop once a building is constructed: “For projects
to be sustainable, the operational and decommissioning phases
need to be separately identified and planned for by the client”. The
client holds the responsibility to maintain the building, which rests
on the client having suitable briefing with regards to the technology
and user satisfaction of the building.
Stakeholders of a construction project (Designers, Managers,
Government and Users) have a variety of methods to communicate
their intentions during the project. The following figure outlines
the feedback linkages between stakeholders and the proposed POE
methodology, leading to the application of lessons learned for
future developments (Fig. 1).
Typically, POE studies (Bordass & Leaman, 2005) have found that
“designers, builders and sometimes even procuring clients do not
engage closely with the performance of the buildings they have
created. Hence, low-level, chronic problems tend to persist, inno-
vations miss their targets, and true successes may be overlooked.”
1.2. Why POE at MIST?
At MIST the student residences and non-domestic buildings
(e.g., Labs and Facilities) aim to achieve very low energy consump-
tion. They are not, however, rated according to any of the regular
rating systems: Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design
(LEED) or Building Research Establishment Environmental Assess-
ment Method (BREEAM). ESTIDAMA was not established at the time
Masdar was conceived.
The success or failure of Masdar City will ultimately rest on
a wide variety of indicators: Technical, Economic, Ecological and
Social. The use of POE, particularly to systematically and accurately
provide hard evidence on the performance of the buildings and
the experiences of the occupants will play a valuable role in the
evaluation of Masdar City in comparison to other energy efficient
developments in the region.
The Masdar Case study poses a challenge to the built envi-
ronment research community, namely the development of a POE
strategy that is applicable and appropriate to a Zero Carbon
City, where wider ecological and sustainability issues need to be
The key lessons learned from 40 years of POE, and sugges-
tions for the future direction of research in this area have been
recently summarised (Leaman, Stevenson, & Bordass, 2010). In a
recent review article of the use and development of POE in the
residential sector (Vale & Vale, 2010), it is argued that: “Post-
occupancy evaluation (POE) could have a significant role in the
lowering of environmental impacts, but the framing of domestic
POE must embrace a rating of the occupants’ behaviour. A key chal-
lenge is to provide indicators not only on technical performance
and usability, but also on user behaviours.” Suggested metrics and
indicators to be included within POE are: Resource use per per-
son; Waste production; Transport; Income; Home productivity;
and Community involvement. An example of POE study applied
to a residential development designed to be carbon neutral, is that
carried out at BedZed in the UK (Hodge & Haltrecht, 2009), which
examined performance of the Home, Food, Travel and Transport,
Shelter and Thermal Comfort, Goods and Services, Waste, Commu-
nity and Amenities.
POE studies repeatedly report on the importance of occupant
behaviour on the performance of low energy buildings. A study
of a university building (Browne & Frame, 1999), found that elec-
tricity consumption was 2.5 times higher than expected, with the
behaviour and education of the occupants being seen as an impor-
tant factor in this under performance, leading the authors of the
study to propose that “green buildings need green occupants”, In
the residential sector, a study of low energy dwellings in the UK
(Gill, Tierney, Pegg, & Allan, 2010), found that behaviour accounted
for 51%, 37%, and 11% of the variance in heat, electricity, and water
consumption, respectively, between dwellings. There is some evi-
dence (Deuble & de Dear, 2010) that “green occupants” who have a
predisposition towards environmental issues, will be more forgiv-
ing and tolerant attitude to the performance of a building.
These observations are particularly relevant to the use and
design of POE for MIST. The methodology to be developed at MIST
seeks to capture and investigate the role of occupant behaviour
on the performance of MIST buildings and their role in achieving
carbon and waste neutrality.
Author's personal copy
T. Kansara, I. Ridley / Sustainable Cities and Society 5 (2012) 23–25 25
2. Methodology
The following methodology is being developed for application
at MIST for the Zero Carbon aspect of the City, and aims to follow,
where possible, guidelines and standard methods developed for
the Building Performance Evaluation programme of the Technology
Strategy Board (TSB) (Stevenson, 2010). The study will be applied to
the 100 postgraduate student residents at MIST. The indicators used
at MIST include: Induction/Understanding; Satisfaction; Comfort;
Control; Energy Audit of home; Realisation of design intentions;
Resource use per person; and Waste production.
2.1. Occupant survey
The Occupant Survey to be used is The BUS Methodology Occupant
Survey. Building Use Studies developed the BUS Survey between
1985 and 2008. In 2008 ARUP adopted the BUS Survey and it is
now called the BUS Methodology. The methodology and philoso-
phy of BUS is described in the ARUP journal (Leaman, 2010). The
BUS questionnaire is based on the Probe questionnaire and has over
thirty years of experience behind it. The residents will be given the
questionnaire six months after occupation. An additional standard-
ised survey will be used to measure the health and wellbeing of
occupants. The Short Form SF-36v2, General Health Questionnaire
GHQ-12, Index of Health-Related Quality of Life, and EuroQuol5D
are integrated into a questionnaire to gage the level of health of
2.2. Energy and environmental logging
The energy consumption of the MIST buildings is to be logged
and recorded by the BMS system. Additionally 250 portable data
loggers have been installed in MIST buildings to measure temper-
ature and relative humidity. A two-year monitoring period, which
includes a pilot project, is proposed to provide seasonal and resi-
dential variation. The first sample of students will graduate in 2011.
The next batch of students will move into MIST in September 2011.
Monitoring both intakes and their reactions to MIST as well as the
non-residential students will provide good grounds for compari-
2.3. Interviews and walk through
Small groups of students will be interviewed whilst walking
through the City. This provides the prompt for their comments and
observations previously missed by the resident in the written BUS
survey. A review session held to verify comments and establish
As well as the occupants a number of interviews and meetings
have taken place with the designers, facility managers and building
owners to identify the strategy for closing the performance gap.
2.4. Energy Demand Response
The POE survey will be complemented by an ongoing inde-
pendent MIST Demand Response (DR) research project. DR aims
to reduce occupants’ electricity usage in response to power grid
needs. The aim of the DR project is to implement and analyse
the effect of different incentive schemes and dynamic pricing
models on the load consumption behaviour of end users. The sur-
vey investigates the behaviour and attitude of MIST residents to
energy use.
3. Conclusion
A Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE) to assess the resident’s sat-
isfaction and building performance at MIST, Masdar is underway.
The research focuses on the role that user behaviour and satis-
faction plays on energy efficiency. It is hoped that the residents’
reaction and adaptation to the first Zero Carbon Zero Waste city
will provide valuable insights that can be applied to future low
energy developments.
The authors wish to thank Masdar City and Masdar Institute of
Science and Technology for their support.
Bordass, B., & Leaman, A. (2005). Making feedback and post-occupancy evaluation
routine 1: A portfolio of feedback techniques. Building Research & Information
Journal,33(4), 347–352.
Browne, S., & Frame, I. (1999). Green buildings need green occupants. Eco-
Management and Auditing,6, 80–85.
Deuble, M., & de Dear, R. (2010). Green occupants for green buildings: The missing
link? In Proceedings of Conference: Adapting to Change: New Thinking on Comfort
Cumberland Lodge, Windsor, UK, 9–11 April, London: Network for Comfort and
Energy Use in Buildings.
Gabr, H., & Al-Sallal, K. (2003). School design and child behavior: Post occu-
pancy evaluation of kindergartens in Al-Ain City. In Proceedings of the
4th Annual UAE University research conference Al Ain, CD version 2003,
(pp. 127–131).
Gill, Z., Tierney, M. J., Pegg, I., & Allan, N. (2010). Low-energy dwellings: the con-
tribution of behaviours to actual performance. Building Research & Information,
38(5), 491–508.
Hodge, J., & Haltrecht, J. (2009). BedZed Seven Years On. BioRegional solutions for
sustainability. Surrey, UK (p. 43).
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principles. Building Research & Information,38(5).
Leaman, A. (2010). Are Buildings getting better? Arup Journal,1.
Preiser, W. F. E. (1995). Post-occupancy evaluation: how to make buildings work
better. Facilities,13(11), 19–28.
RIBA, 1973. Plan of Work for Design Team Operation. RIBA Publications. ISBN
Stevenson, F. (2010). Technology strategy board: Post-occupancy evaluation guide.
Oxford Brookes University.
Vale, B., & Vale, R. (2010). Domestic energy use, lifestyles and POE: Past lessons for
current problems. Building Research & Information,38(5), 578–588.
... Other studies applied the POE to facilitate improved occupant behavior (2%), as described in [76][77][78][79]. Another 2% of the authors used the POE as a tool to support building maintenance actions, [80][81][82][83]. ...
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The following research, carried out in the field ICAR/12 Technology of Architecture, aims to promote the application of the ex-post evaluation methodology in the national sector of healthcare buildings. Among the most accredited methodologies for the detection of feedback on the performance of a building, we find the Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE), defined as the act of evaluating the buildings in a systematic and rigorous way, after they have been built and occupied for some time. Over the last decades, the POE methodology has become an internationally accredited, evidencebased approach, which gives quantitative and qualitative data, through the involvement and detection of users’ feedback. This methodology has been successfully applied to hospital buildings, as they involve a series of specificities due to the variety of users and the different complexity of functional activities, that involves a different request for performance from an architectural point of view (adequacy of spaces in relation to activities to be performed), logistic, organizational/ management for the different functional areas. The aim was at first to develop a general framework for the application of POE methodologies to the Italian context for hospital buildings, starting from an analysis of the evolution of the method, the techniques and its possible applications. By studying the international context, a simplification of the application procedures and a systematization of criteria and sub-criteria for evaluating the performance of the hospital building has been carried out. For reasons related to the timing of the research, a model has been defined for the ex-post evaluation with respect to the sub-criterion of visual comfort. The detection of feedback from users, alongside the “expert” survey of technicians, must take place in an effective and systematic way, therefore specific tools have been developed for data collection. The application to the case studies has thus had the purpose of evaluating the first outcomes of the use of such methodologies for the evaluation of the visual comfort of the clinics’ waiting rooms of three hospitals of Rome (Ophthalmic Hospital, Nuovo Regina Margherita Hospital, S. Spirito Hospital). The analysis carried out has confirmed the effectiveness of the use of POE, which is particularly functional for managers and designers in order to identify preferential lines and methods of interventions, in relation to the needs identified by users and the requirements necessary for achieving performance goals. The “direct” communication between users, designers and building managers allows to intercept/catch/understand the real needs, increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of the interventions once they have been realized.
Load components reflect the amount of contributions that different building functional elements have made to the generation of total load during building operation. It will be helpful for a more accurate load prediction, and also for indirect evaluation on the thermal performance of building envelopes if the load components can be fully made out. However, in practical engineering, the data of load components cannot be obtained by field test. In this paper, benefiting from the different morphological features of load component profiles, a method based on morphological components analysis (MCA) is proposed to disaggregate cooling load into four parts with specific physical significance: temperature difference load, TCL; solar radiation load, SRCL; fresh air load, FACL; and internal load, ICL. Firstly, non-negative dictionary learning algorithm is introduced to learn the theoretical morphological feature of each load component adaptively. Secondly, non-negative sparse coding algorithm is adopted to disaggregate the time series of total load, and finally the load components are extracted from total load. Two cases with different settings using simulated data have been implemented. The results demonstrate that the proposed method can realize the load disaggregation effectively and accurately, where the accuracy index, Accuracy, is above 85% under different day attributes.
Today’s high-performance buildings answer to a large and growing number of quantitative performance criteria. Performance gaps between design and actual performance have however been identified as a significant challenge for both energy performance, occupant satisfaction and operational costs. There is no doubt about the importance of a holistic approach to turn the inter-related series of building design and operational challenges into new opportunities. Discipline specific performance criteria are found to limit the possibilities for choosing holistic solutions. In this article we aim to use studies of available theory as well as our own insights of recent examples of holistic design in high-performance buildings to show how todays practice of discipline specific performance criteria and active technology leads to sub-optimal solutions. Through inductive reasoning and insights from literature, personal design experiences and related research activities, we present a view and show that subjective occupant feedback in the post-occupancy phase can gather crucial knowledge and documentation which can empower holistic design solutions and close the performance gaps in future buildings. We further suggest how new solutions for continuous subjective feedback can modernize and improve this process, enabling new ways of designing and operating buildings and contributing to realizing sustainable cities.
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Purpose Although the handover stage is the key transition stage between the construction and operation, there is no critical overview of issues and research at the handover stage, hindering the achievement of sustainable development of buildings. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to review the building handover-related issues and research in construction and facility management (FM) journals. The specific objectives of this study include: analyze the research trends and overview the handover-related publications; identify the major research topics on the handover of buildings; identify research gaps and propose future research directions. Design/methodology/approach This study opted for a four-step systematic review of papers from the well-known academic journals in the construction and FM respects. Findings The results first revealed the increasing research interest in the handover of buildings from the researchers. Moreover, the post-construction defects, poor information fidelity, poor interoperability between building information modeling (BIM) and FM technologies, and insufficient consideration of end users were identified as the most concerned challenges for a building handover. Furthermore, identifying and formalizing information requirements for handover, improving the handover process, and improving the interoperability between BIM and FM were solutions mostly emphasized by researchers. Research limitations/implications As the first systematic review of building handover-related issues and research, this study is the building block for future research on this topic. The findings provide guidance for researchers in the construction and FM research community, and help them form useful collaboration for future research opportunities and find future research directions. Practical implications The identified significant challenges and potential solutions for a building handover could assist practitioners in making rational decisions on developing or adopting relevant technologies, and reshaping their management patterns and working processes. Moreover, the findings could be severed as evidence for policymakers to initiate policies, such as documents e-submission and timely updating BIMs, to achieve the vision of model-based project delivery. Originality/value This study contributed to the body of knowledge of sustainable development by providing a new insight to tackle the hindrance to the smooth transition from the construction to the operation.
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This paper follows the results of recent post-occupancy evaluation surveys within two office buildings at Macquarie University, Sydney Australia. Supplemented with an environmental attitudes questionnaire, based upon the New Ecological Paradigm (Dunlap et al. 2000), it was found that occupant satisfaction levels are positively associated with environmental beliefs. Occupants with higher levels of environmental concern were more tolerant of their building, particularly those featuring aspects of green design, such as naturally-ventilated façades and operable windows. Despite their criticisms of the building’s indoor environmental quality, the ‘green’ occupants were prepared to overlook and forgive less-than-ideal conditions more so than their ‘brown’ (non-green) counterparts. Drawing upon these results, statistical analyses of the association between environmental beliefs and occupant satisfaction in this paper support the hypothesis that broad environmental attitudes are closely associated with the stronger ‘forgiveness factor’ often observed in green-intent buildings.
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Based on experiences of carrying out building-performance studies in non-domestic buildings in the United Kingdom and around the world, the question is addressed of how these might apply in the emerging area of housing evaluation studies. Principles are offered covering both non-domestic and domestic buildings. The research area and approach are defined, and types of feedback and their effectiveness are explored, along with the sorts of methods that should be used and some wider topics including duty of care and some of the implications of ‘real-world’ research. Key lessons from fieldwork are presented.Sur la base de l'expérience acquise en réalisant des études sur les performances des bâtiments dans des bâtiments non résidentiels au Royaume-Uni et à travers le monde, la question est abordée de savoir comment celle-ci pourrait s'appliquer au secteur émergent des études d'évaluation des logements. Des principes sont proposés, couvrant à la fois les bâtiments résidentiels et non résidentiels. Le domaine de recherche et l'approche sont définis, et les types de feedback comme leur efficacité sont examinés, ainsi que les types de méthodes qui devraient être utilisés, mais aussi certains thèmes plus larges, incluant le devoir de diligence et certaines des implications découlant des recherches en «situation réelle». Les principaux enseignements de ces travaux de terrain sont présentés.Mots clés: évaluation des bâtiments, performances des bâtiments, évaluation énergétique, feedback, enquêtes auprès des occupants, évaluation après occupation, recherches en situation réelle
Many research and demonstration projects in the 1970s showed it was not difficult to make houses with a much lower energy use than conventional ones. Some of these projects also included autonomous systems, such as collecting and using rainwater and growing food on site. These projects not only recognized clear limits, but also translated into consumption restraints for occupants which positively affected their behaviour. However, these ideas failed to become mainstream. This resulted in houses in many developed countries becoming more energy efficient, but, paradoxically, the demands for increased floor area and amenity suggested that what users actually want is more rather than fewer resources. Building regulations to save energy have been outweighed, in terms of resources consumed, by other consumer-led moves. Seminal ideas and projects from the 1970s for the design of low-energy, autonomous houses are re-evaluated showing where resource reductions through synergy of lifestyle activities can be made. Post-occupancy evaluation (POE) could have a significant role in the lowering of environmental impacts, but the framing of domestic POE must embrace a rating of the occupants' behaviour. A key challenge is to provide indicators not only on technical performance and usability, but also on user behaviours.
Over forty years ago, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) published its Plan of Work for Design Team Operation (1963)18. Royal Institute of British Architects. 1963. Plan of Work for Design Team Operation, London: RIBA. View all references, which included Stage M – Feedback. In spite of this, designers, builders and sometimes even procuring clients do not engage closely with the performance of the buildings they have created. Hence, low-level, chronic problems tend to persist, innovations miss their targets, and true successes may be overlooked – even in some of the best buildings, as the Probe series of post-occupancy surveys revealed. This paper discusses how feedback, follow through from design and construction into occupancy, and post-occupancy evaluation could become a natural part of project delivery, and how this could improve the quality and sustainability of our buildings. It describes progress made since the Probe series of post-occupancy ended in encouraging the use of feedback, including a portfolio of established techniques, development of the Soft Landings technique, and setting up a charity to promote and support feedback. The results of tests with a user group are also discussed. Il y a plus de 40 ans, en 1963, le Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) a publié son Plan of Work for Design Team Operation, qui incluait Stage M – Feedback. Malgré cela, les concepteurs, les constructeurs et parfois même les acheteurs ne s'engagent pas de façon sérieuse vis à vis des performances des bâtiments qu'ils ont créés. D'où, des problèmes chroniques, mineurs mais qui tendent à persister, des innovations qui n'atteignent pas leurs cibles et de vraies réussites qui risquent d'être ignorées, même en ce qui concerne les meilleurs bâtiments comme l'a révélé la série Probe d'études après emménagement. Cet article examine comment le retour d'information, le suivi de la conception et de la construction jusqu'à l'occupation et l'évaluation après emménagement pourraient devenir une composante naturelle de la fourniture d'un projet et comment cela pourrait améliorer la qualité et la durabilité de nos bâtiments. L'auteur poursuit en décrivant les progrès réalisés depuis la série Probe d'évaluation après emménagement et termine en encourageant l'utilisation du retour d'information, y compris d'un catalogue de techniques établies, le développement de techniques ‘d'atterrissages en douceur’ et la création d'une institution caritative pour promouvoir et apporter un soutien au retour d'information. Il examine également les résultats de tests conduits sur un groupe d'utilisateurs.
Post-occupancy evaluation (POE) is a diagnostic tool and system which allows facility managers to identify and evaluate critical aspects of building performance systematically. This system has been applied to identify problem areas in existing buildings, to test new building prototypes and to develop design guidance and criteria for future facilities. Outlines the numerous benefits of POE, including better space utilization, as well as cost and time savings. Describes a conceptual framework and evaluation data-gathering techniques. Presents examples of the outcomes of a case study POE on a medical facility. Highlights the primary effect of a POE database development project on FM software and summarizes the outcomes of an IFMA Pilot Survey on Academic Facility Performance Feedback.
The UK Government's Building a Greener Future: Policy Statement (2007) announced that all new homes must be zero carbon from 2016. To date, a number of housing sites around the UK have strived to reduce carbon emissions by following sustainable design principles and utilizing renewable technologies. On paper, these sites exceed regulatory compliance and are regarded as high-performance buildings. However, their actual performance is seldom validated from the perspective of either the design engineer or the occupants. Findings are presented from an on-going post-occupancy evaluation of a UK EcoHomes site with an 'excellent' rating (the highest rating of the predecessor to the current standard, the Code for Sustainable Homes). The detailed post-occupancy evaluation investigated the energy performance of the buildings (as well as water consumption) and the comfort and satisfaction of users. A bespoke behavioural survey and interview were developed and implemented to distinguish between and quantify frugal and profligate patterns of consumption. Results indicate that energy-efficiency behaviours account for 51%, 37%, and 11% of the variance in heat, electricity, and water consumption, respectively, between dwellings. Human factor issues need to be addressed more adequately as standard practice in low-energy/carbon design.
The government, along with the Building Research Establishment, recognizes that there is considerable scope for reducing energy consumption by addressing the environmental performance of public buildings, such as schools and universities. It is acknowledged that substantial savings in terms of energy consumption and gaseous emissions can be realized through the construction of low-energy design or ‘green’ buildings. These low-energy designs should have produced relatively low annual energy running costs. However, in England alone, it is estimated that in 1997 universities spent £200 million on fuel. The increase in the construction of low-energy design buildings has not witnessed a subsequent reduction in the energy consumption of these buildings. A detailed study of the electrical consumption of the Queen's Building at Anglia Polytechnic University was undertaken, using the Building Research Establishment's latest environmental School Tool-Kit. Surprisingly, the actual electrical consumption of the building was found to be 2.5 times greater than the amount originally forecast. Poor housekeeping measures were identified as the most likely reason for this. The education of the occupants of buildings in good housekeeping is the key to successfully reducing electricity consumption and hence, enabling the buildings to function as intended. When occupants display good housekeeping techniques, buildings will perform in an environmentally benign and efficient manner. So, green buildings need green occupants. Technology alone cannot and will not save the environment; it needs to be complemented and supplemented by a change in people's lifestyles and attitudes towards the environment. Copyright © 1999 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.
BedZed Seven Years On. BioRegional solutions for sustainability
  • J Hodge
  • J Haltrecht
Hodge, J., & Haltrecht, J. (2009). BedZed Seven Years On. BioRegional solutions for sustainability. Surrey, UK (p. 43).