A study of the user behaviours in dwellings of earth construction
Authors: Daniel, Lyrian; Williamson, Terence
ABSTRACT: Occupant behaviours are cited as a significant factor in residential energy use, in a report
prepared for the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency in 2010. The Nationwide House
Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS), that determines the Star Rating for the Building Code of Australia
(BCA) Energy Efficiency compliance, allows just a single user profile. This research explores the
postulation that; occupants of earth dwellings may have different behaviours to the generic profile
prescribed by the NatHERS protocol and that these alternative behaviour profiles may affect greater
household energy savings.
If true, this indicates that the NatHERS method of Energy Efficiency compliance may be biased against
occupants with ecocentric dispositions, shown to result in energy saving behaviours. This study provides
empirical evidence on the occupancy behaviour profiles of a cohort of earth building users and gauges the
critical effect this has on star rating output and compliance with the BCA Energy Efficiency requirements.
Questionnaire results corroborate the previously acknowledged ecocentric dispositions of occupants of
dwellings incorporating earth components, whilst thermal simulation reveals the potential energy savings
these behavioural trends may affect.