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Simple prompts reduce inadvertent energy consumption from lighting in office buildings

Tetlow, R. M., Beaman, C. P., Elmualim, A. A. and Couling, K. (2014) Simple prompts reduce inadvertent energy consumption from lighting in office buildings. Building and Environment, 81. pp. 234-242. ISSN 0360-1323

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.buildenv.2014.07.003


Building designs regularly fail to achieve the anticipated levels of in-use energy consumption. The interaction of occupants with building controls is often cited as a key factor behind this discrepancy. This paper examines whether one factor in inadvertent energy consumption might be the appearance of post-completion errors (when an intended action is not taken because a primary goal has already been accomplished) in occupants’ interactions with building controls. Post-completion errors have been widely studied in human-computer interaction but the concept has not previously been applied to the interaction of occupants with building controls. Two experiments were carried out to examine the effect of incorporating two different types of simple prompt to reduce post-completion error in the use of light switches in office meeting rooms. Results showed that the prompts were effective and that occupants switched off lights when leaving the room more often when presented with a normative prompt than with a standard injunction. Additionally, an over reliance on PIR sensors to turn off lights after meetings was observed, which reduced their intended energy savings. We conclude that achieving low carbon buildings in practice is not solely a technological issue and that application of user-models from human-computer interaction will encourage appropriate occupant interaction with building controls and help reduce inadvertent energy consumption.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Psychology
Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Centre for Technologies for Sustainable Built Environments (TSBE)
Science > School of the Built Environment
ID Code:37144
Uncontrolled Keywords:post-completion errors; energy performance; occupant behaviour; building controls; non-domestic buildings


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