Cardiff University | Prifysgol Caerdydd ORCA
Online Research @ Cardiff 
WelshClear Cookie - decide language by browser settings

The role of occupants in buildings’ energy performance gap: myth or reality?

Mahdavi, Ardeshir, Berger, Christiane, Amin, Hadeer, Ampatzi, Eleni ORCID:, Andersen, Rune Korsholm, Azar, Elie, Barthelmes, Verena M., Favero, Matteo, Hahn, Jakob, Khovalyg, Dolaana, Knudsen, Henrik N., Navarro, Alessandra L., Roetzel, Astrid, Sangogboye, Fisayo C., Schweiker, Marcel, Taheri, Mahnameh, Teli, Despoina, Touchie, Marianne and Verbruggen, Silke 2021. The role of occupants in buildings’ energy performance gap: myth or reality? Sustainability 13 (6) , 3146. 10.3390/su13063146

[thumbnail of sustainability-13-03146.pdf] PDF - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (1MB)


Buildings’ expected (projected, simulated) energy use frequently does not match actual observations. This is commonly referred to as the energy performance gap. As such, many factors can contribute to the disagreement between expectations and observations. These include, for instance, uncertainty about buildings’ geometry, construction, systems, and weather conditions. However, the role of occupants in the energy performance gap has recently attracted much attention. It has even been suggested that occupants are the main cause of the energy performance gap. This, in turn, has led to suggestions that better models of occupant behavior can reduce the energy performance gap. The present effort aims at the review and evaluation of the evidence for such claims. To this end, a systematic literature search was conducted and relevant publications were identified and reviewed in detail. The review entailed the categorization of the studies according to the scope and strength of the evidence for occupants’ role in the energy performance gap. Moreover, deployed calculation and monitoring methods, normalization procedures, and reported causes and magnitudes of the energy performance gap were documented and evaluated. The results suggest that the role of occupants as significant or exclusive contributors to the energy performance gap is not sufficiently substantiated by evidence.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Architecture
Additional Information: This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and con‐ ditions of the Creative Commons At‐ tribution (CC BY) license (http://crea‐
Publisher: MDPI
ISSN: 2071-1050
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 17 March 2021
Date of Acceptance: 9 March 2021
Last Modified: 04 May 2023 22:53

Citation Data

Cited 21 times in Scopus. View in Scopus. Powered By Scopus® Data

Actions (repository staff only)

Edit Item Edit Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics