Friday, 11 February 2011

Architects need to work with behavioural scientists to understand how people use energy within buildings

A new report by the UK Energy Research Centre, announced today on BBC Online, highlights the fact that behaviour change is too often overlooked by energy policies.

Homes account for 45% of the UK’s energy use. To reduce this energy use significantly, we need to consider more than just the technologies that improve the efficiency of buildings. The report argues that once people start using buildings, they do so in complex ways.

Erik Bischard, lead researcher in the Energy House Project at the University of Salford, explains:

"The built environment community is dominated at the construction phase by technicians and engineers who are driven by specifications and tight budgets...

"Human behaviour, once the building is occupied, is often seen as someone else's problem - but this is a dangerously mistaken view. Almost half of greenhouses gases emitted are as a result of how we use buildings.”

Architects need to work closely work with behavioural scientists to assess the way that people use buildings. Ultimately, the report suggests, smart buildings aren’t the solution — smart people are.

(pic: courtesy of BBC Online - the Energy House Project)

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