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Energies 2016, 9(3), 215; doi:10.3390/en9030215

Evaluation of a Mixed Method Approach for Studying User Interaction with Novel Building Control Technology

Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development, De Montfort University, Leicester LE1 9BH, UK
Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences, James Hutton Institute, Craigiebuckler, Aberdeen AB15 8QH, UK
School of Civil and Building Engineering, Loughborough University, Loughborough LE11 3TU, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Chi-Ming Lai
Received: 8 February 2016 / Revised: 8 February 2016 / Accepted: 4 March 2016 / Published: 17 March 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multi-Disciplinary Perspectives on Energy and Sustainable Development)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [8761 KB, uploaded 17 March 2016]   |  


Energy-efficient building performance requires sophisticated control systems that are based on realistic occupant behaviour models. To provide robust data for the development of these models, research studies in real-world settings are needed. Yet, such studies are challenging and necessitate careful design in terms of data collection methods and procedures. This paper describes and critiques the design of a mixed methods approach for occupant behaviour research. It reviews the methodology developed for a longitudinal study in a real-world office environment where occupants’ experience with a novel facade technology (electrochromic glazing) was investigated. The methodology integrates objective physical measurements, observational data and self-reported experience data. Using data from one day of the study, this paper illustrates how the different sources can be combined in order to derive an in-depth understanding of the interplay between external daylight conditions, characteristics of the facade technology, occupant interaction with the technology and the resulting occupant experience. It was found that whilst the individual methods may be affected by practical limitations, these can be partially offset by combining physical measurements and observations with self-reported data. The paper critically evaluates the individual techniques, as well as the benefits of their integration and makes recommendations for the design of future occupant behaviour studies in real-world settings. View Full-Text
Keywords: real-world research; occupant behaviour; electrochromic glazing; occupant satisfaction; user experience real-world research; occupant behaviour; electrochromic glazing; occupant satisfaction; user experience

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Painter, B.; Irvine, K.N.; Kelly Waskett, R.; Mardaljevic, J. Evaluation of a Mixed Method Approach for Studying User Interaction with Novel Building Control Technology. Energies 2016, 9, 215.

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