Occupant behavior and energy consumption in dwellings: An analysis of behavioral models and actual energy consumption in the dutch housing stock

Merve Bedir

Research output: ThesisDissertation (TU Delft)

81 Downloads (Pure)


Much is known about the increasing levels of energy consumption and environmental decay caused by the built environment. Also, more and more attention is shown to the energy consumption of dwellings, from the early design stage until the occupants start living in them. The increasing complexity of building technologies, the occupants’ preferences, and their needs and demands make it difficult to achieve the aimed energy consumption levels. The goal of reducing the energy consumption of dwellings and understanding the share of occupant behavior in it form the context of this research.

Several studies have demonstrated the ‘energy performance gap’ between the calculated and the actual energy consumption levels of buildings, and have explored the reasons for it. The energy performance gap is either caused by calculation drawbacks, uncertainties of modeling weather conditions, construction defects regarding air tightness and insulation levels, or by occupant behavior. This research focuses on the last aspect, i.e. analyzing the relationship between occupant behavior and energy consumption in dwellings, understanding the determinants of energy consumption, and finding occupants’ behavioral patterns.

There are several dimensions of occupant behavior and energy consumption of dwellings: dwelling characteristics including the energy and indoor comfort management systems, building envelope, lighting and appliances; occupant characteristics including the social, educational and economical; and actual behavior, including the control of heating, ventilation and lighting of spaces, and appliance use, hot water use, washing, bathing, and cleaning. Attempting to understand this complexity asks for a methodology that covers both quantitative and qualitative methods; and both cross-sectional and longitudinal data collection, working interdisciplinary among the domains of design for sustainability, environmental psychology, and building and design informatics.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Delft University of Technology
  • Sanlyıldız, I.S., Supervisor, External person
  • Visscher, H.J., Supervisor
Award date4 Dec 2017
Print ISBNs978-94-92516-98-5
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

A+BE | Architecture and the Built Environment No. 16 (2017)


  • energy consumption
  • dwellings
  • Dutch housing

Cite this