Since the Industrial Revolution, Science, Technology and Industry succeeded at aninteresting rate, improving a social and economic growth.
We all know that fulfilling theneeds for such development requires an increasingly amount of natural resources, leadingto the depletion of the planet’s resources and degradation of the natural environment.Scientists, politicians, and society members are now taking this subject as a priority,realizing that disregarding the current situation can put in danger its future wellbeing.Therefore, and being evolution the crucial goal of any species, such purpose cannot bepostponed; so the solution is not stopping current growth but changing the way in which itoccurs. Within this line of thought came the concept of Sustainability.Nowadays green building is a famous practice among most of the people who areproducing green design which should lead to environmental, economic and socialsustainability. During design, economic and environmental sustainability are wellunderstood despite the social sustainability is less perceived during the design and rarelyimplemented in the buildings.Implementing green buildings is believed to reduce environmental impact and provide ahealthier environment for residents. The development of green buildings has been due tothe adverse impact on the environment of conventional buildings which have contributedto approximately 30 to 40 per cent of global energy usage.
While implementation of greenbuildings is required for energy reduction, the building occupants also have a role to playin reducing energy consumption. Users of buildings impact on the energy efficiencyperformance of green buildings. Green behaviors are actions that building occupants taketo reduce energy consumption in a building. Successful energy performance of green 4buildings can be achieved by reducing energy consumption through changes in humanbehavior.
Social sustainability is how human conduct impact the environmental capital and thechallenge remain to let the future generations have access to such resources. Humanbehavior in buildings can be a major influence on resource use.These behaviors adjust the energy performance of a building by increasing its monthly andyearly energy use and they affect the way office buildings are occupied. We can clearlynotice that over half of individual workplaces are empty even at the busiest times of dayand offices are used at most for half of their potential for only one third of their functionalavailability every working day.
Ignoring the building specifications especially the ones that are easy to see, i.e. double wall,double glazing, insulated and green roofs, and photovoltaic panels may keep designersaway from exploring the way a building performs and reflecting the energy performanceas a whole and how it is used over time by its users.LEED is one the many methods to verify if the building is environmentally friendly, is agreen building rating system and an internationally accepted standard for the design,construction and operation of high performance green buildings. This shows us that all therating systems including LEED may underestimate the role of human behavior in theperformance of green buildings and does not see the users as the center of the design.
One of the new method UCD, User centered designs is a using technique indicating on howwell users can learn and use a product to achieve their goals and how satisfied they are withthat process. If buildings do not meet users’ requests, users change their operation by theirbehavior or do not use them and all the energy that is spent for their construction andoperation is wasted.52.
0. Problem StatementAll rating systems are repeating previous mistakes by creating needless complexity, whichcan damage their whole purpose. Sources of occupant disappointment, to discover whetheror not green buildings are perceived as better by their users.The Green buildings are more sustainable in design but not necessarily in reality.
Thishappens for several reasons. It is found for example that once the building is occupied,residents may find it difficult to understand the control systems and operate them. Thismeans that maintenance and energy management may not be up to standard and somecontrol systems which bother the occupants may be by passed. The variables that they useto assess users’ satisfaction are: overall comfort, temperature in summer and winter,ventilation/air in summer and winter, lighting and noise.
There is an increasing concern on the environmental impact of the energy we consume.However, instead of reducing energy consumption, occupants spend more energy eachyear. Since 1990, world residential electricity consumption has grown at an average of3.4% per year. Part of this growth is represented by new households that did not haveaccess to electricity before.Regardless of current efforts to encourage sustainable behavior and consumers’ claims thatthey are eco-minded, green attitudes remain insufficiently reflected in consumers’ choices.This attitude-behavior gap suggests present efforts to drive environmentally friendlybehavior may be ineffective.
A major amount of academic effort is dedicated towards sustainable and energy efficienthomes. However, the relevance of users’ role does not seem to be equally reflected inacademic research production.6The researches mentioned can be seen that human behavior is a critical variable forsustainable energy consumption in buildings. Therefore, additional steps must beperformed to change or remove the variable of human behavior to achieve sustainableenergy consumption.