Quantifying the ‘human factor’ in office building energy efficiency: A mixed-method approach
Authors: Roussac, A. Craig ; de Dear, Richard; Hyde, Richard
ABSTRACT: Greenhouse gas emissions from occupied Australian commercial office buildings can be
reduced substantially. Accessible and cost-effective technologies and knowledge (know-how) are
being widely adopted in the construction of new buildings and there is evidence that, on average, office
buildings constructed since 2005 are performing with lower energy intensity than older buildings.
However, to achieve the sector’s potential for deeper and more sustained reductions in greenhouse
gas emissions, research into the interaction between technology and the people that operate the
buildings is required. This is especially the case for older buildings where accessible and cost-effective
technologies and know-how that can abate greenhouse gas emissions have not, as yet, been widely
There is an urgent need to understand the role that human competency, values and interests play in
determining the success of investments in technology and know-how and, indeed, the likelihood of
investments being made at all. We need to ground this analysis in ‘real world’ operational data, rather
than speculative models.
The paper proposes a mixed-method approach for defining and quantifying the extent to which
operations staff and other key decision makers influence the energy efficiency of occupied Australian
commercial office buildings, and presents preliminary findings.