Reference: Understanding occupants: feedback techniques for large-scale low-carbon domestic refurbishments (2010) Gupta, R. and Chandiwala, S.

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Abstract or summary

How can occupant feedback methods inform the management and design of low-carbon and whole-house refurbishment of dwellings? This is particularly relevant for large-scale, whole-house refurbishment programmes tasked with achieving deep cuts in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Evidence from pre-refurbishment occupancy can influence which interventions are chosen and increase their efficacy. A critical review is undertaken of a portfolio of short- and long-term occupant feedback techniques for evaluating occupants\' perception of comfort, satisfaction, behaviour, and expectations. A number of these occupant feedback techniques are then tested empirically at the pre-refurbishment stage for two discrete case-study house types as part of ongoing research. The evidence reveals wide gaps between modelled and actual energy consumption; poor indoor CO2 and daylight levels, low operating internal temperatures, as well as problematic noise transmission. Such findings influence the selection of suitable user-centred low-carbon refurbishment interventions and ensure that there is a robust learning process for building owners, occupants, designers, and building managers. To optimize time, cost, and occupant involvement, it is important that feedback from occupants on building performance focuses on ‘need-to-know’ rather than ‘nice-to-have’ factors.