Data encounters in renovated homes: Sense-making beyond displays

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There is an increasing acknowledgement of the role of residents in the success of low- or zero-energy renovations. One of the approaches to improve this factor is by influencing resident behaviour by means of devices for feedback on consumption. The goal of these systems is to help residents make sense of the relation between their actions and choices, and their energy consumption, indoor environmental conditions and comfort. In this paper we describe interactions with these devices as one form of data encounter. We then suggest that there are other forms of data encounters already happening in renovated homes by which residents make sense. These data encounters are useful to understand if we want to understand the interactions between residents and buildings. We introduce the concepts of sense-making and interactive adaptation to better understand these data encounters. In this study we show data encounters in various forms as they happen in four renovated homes in the same building in the Netherlands. We use interviews and video-recorded walkthroughs to identify data encounters related to indoor climate and energy consumption within these homes. We find data encounters that involve more than displays and technical devices. Residents use bodily senses, information from other people, and complex contextual information to understand indoor climate and energy consumption. We also find that data encounters relate to, and are embedded in everyday practices and routines. Finally, we find that data encounters involve active sense-making rather than passive consumption of information. We discuss these findings and conclude by suggesting that existing data encounters could serve as a starting point for the improved design of buildings, renovation processes, and the selection, design and implementation of new data encounters.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCLIMA 2022 - 14th REHVA HVAC World Congress
Subtitle of host publicationEye on 2030, Towards digitalized, healthy, circular and energy efficient HVAC
PublisherTU Delft OPEN
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2022
EventCLIMA 2022 - 14th REHVA HVAC World Congress: Towards digitalized, healthy, circular and energy efficient HVAC - Rotterdam, Netherlands
Duration: 22 May 202225 May 2022


ConferenceCLIMA 2022 - 14th REHVA HVAC World Congress
Internet address


  • Occupant behaviour
  • data
  • feedback
  • renovation
  • sense-making
  • design
  • home energy management systems


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