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In Search for Untapped Energy-Saving Potential in Green and Smart Higher Educational Buildings—An Empirical Case Study Involving the Building Occupants
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Energy Technology, Applied Thermodynamics and Refrigeration.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7382-9547
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Energy Technology, Applied Thermodynamics and Refrigeration.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2300-2581
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Energy Technology, Applied Thermodynamics and Refrigeration.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0744-6932
2023 (English)In: Buildings, E-ISSN 2075-5309, Vol. 13, no 12, article id 3103Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Energy-intense activities and the unpredictable and complex behavior of building occupants lead to an increase in building energy demand. It is, therefore, crucial to study underlying factors for building energy demand related to the users. Higher educational buildings are relevant to study for several reasons: they host the future workforce and citizens, they are predicted to increase in numbers, and they represent a building type less studied. Furthermore, green-rated buildings equipped with smart building systems also represent a research gap that is relevant to address since such a building design involves IoT-functionalities and digital features for the building occupants to interact with. There is also a conceivable risk that if the users know that the building is green-rated and technologically advanced, this may alter their perception of the building operation and thus their behavior. To study the relationship between building occupants and such green and smart educational structure, a survey was conducted in a Swedish higher educational building; as a result, 300 responses were collected and analyzed. The responses revealed that the building occupants act with energy awareness, and they are conscious about energy-saving behaviors. One building feature in particular was studied: the Digital Room Panels (DRPs). The DRP allows the building occupants to modify the indoor temperature and is, therefore, essential for thermal comfort. One key finding from the survey revealed that 70% of the building occupants did not know how the DRPs operate. This study argues that this result can be explained with a lack of communication and user friendliness. Inadequate interactions with building systems could also result in opportunities for energy saving might not be realized. The findings of this case study led to valuable recommendations and suggestions for future research endeavors.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
MDPI AG , 2023. Vol. 13, no 12, article id 3103
Keywords [en]
commercial buildings; campus; energy use; building occupants; behavior; energy awareness; green-rated buildings; smart building systems; indoor environmental quality
National Category
Building Technologies
Research subject
Energy Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-344412DOI: 10.3390/buildings13123103ISI: 001130606300001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85180648407OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-344412DiVA, id: diva2:1844927
Funder
Swedish Energy Agency, 2018-016237Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research, RIT17-0046
Note

QC 20240315

Available from: 2024-03-15 Created: 2024-03-15 Last updated: 2024-03-15Bibliographically approved

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Bäcklund, KatarinaMolinari, MarcoLundqvist, Per

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