Performance gaps in energy consumption: household groups and building characteristics

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    70 Citations (Scopus)
    149 Downloads (Pure)


    The difference between actual and calculated energy is called the ‘energy-performance gap’. Possible explanations for this gap are construction mistakes, improper adjusting of equipment, excessive simplification in simulation models and occupant behaviour. Many researchers and governmental institutions think the occupant is the main cause of this gap. However, only limited evidence exists for this. Therefore, an analysis is presented of actual and theoretical energy consumption based on specific household types and building characteristics. Using a large dataset (1.4 million social housing households), the average actual and theoretical energy consumptions (gas and electricity) of different household types and characteristics (income level, type of income, number of occupants and their age) were compared for each energy label. Additionally, the 10% highest and lowest energy-consuming groups were analysed. The use of combinations of occupant characteristics instead of individual occupant characteristics provides new insights into the influence of the occupant on energy demand. For example, in contrast to previous studies, low-income households consume more gas per m2 (space heating and hot water) than households with a high income for all types of housing. Furthermore, the performance gap is caused not only by the occupant but also by the assumed building characteristics.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-17
    JournalBuilding Research and Information: the international journal of research, development and demonstration
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 May 2017


    • big data
    • energy consumption
    • energy epidemiology
    • energy performance
    • household energy
    • occupant behaviour
    • performance gap


    Dive into the research topics of 'Performance gaps in energy consumption: household groups and building characteristics'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this