As more commercial buildings are being constructed or retrofitted to improve energy efficiency, many of those features require active occupant engagement to fully realize potential benefits. Correct and comprehensive training for occupants can not only improve outcomes on your energy bill but could also help improve employee satisfaction, finds a new study.
Understanding High Performance Buildings: The Link Between Occupant Knowledge of Passive Design Systems, Corresponding Behaviors, Occupant Comfort and Environmental Satisfaction, published in Building and Environment surveyed workers at high-performance buildings about the scope of training for energy reduction practices. The survey found that occupant behavior was mainly inspired by individual level of visual and thermal comfort, amount of control, and social cues, with the workers who had received proper training reporting higher levels of satisfaction with their office environment. The study’s authors urge building owners and managers to take energy education beyond a mass email or bulletin board posting to make sure everyone understands their role in ensuring energy efficiency.
“With stricter energy codes, the expectations are that buildings will be more energy efficient and sustainable, but we have to get out of the mindset where we are not actively engaged in our environments. That shift takes a lot of education, and there is a huge gap right now,” says Julia Day, lead author of the study.
Wondering if there’s an energy education opportunity you might be missing? Employee computer settings can be a great place to start.