Technological innovations to assess and include the human dimension in the building-performance loop: A review

Mateus Vinícius Bavaresco; Simona D'Oca; Enedir Ghisi; Roberto Lamberts
Energy and buildings

The human dimension plays an essential role in the energy performance of buildings and is considered as significant as technological advances. Several studies highlighted the negative influence of occupant behaviour in underperforming buildings, while some support that technological innovations may reduce human-related uncertainties. Thus, one may consider that fully automated smart buildings are essential to achieve energy efficiency. However, if technology excludes people from decision-making processes, low acceptance and comfort/welfare levels may be reported from users. Therefore, the right combination of humans and technologies are expected to solve these problems. Buildings are emerging as complex Cyber-Physical Systems, including the Social dimension, and this provides an excellent opportunity to achieve high-performance outcomes, considering both technical and social aspects. Thus, the right choice among available up-to-date behavioural sensing – comprising active and passive sensors, as well as Kinect technology – are important in the Internet-of-Things (IoT) era. IoT-driven buildings can use real-time monitoring data to inform users and drive behavioural-based consumption change, which is an important aspect to achieve high-performance buildings and deliver user-centred services. An essential feature in this regard is to allow for human-in-the-loop approaches enabled by human-centric computing and smart devices, which has grown fast in the last few years. This literature review summarises applications and main challenges related to the combination of the human dimension and technological innovations in the building sector. This combination is expected to increase user welfare and reduce the energy consumption in buildings, as human and machine components of intelligence may complement each other regarding building performance.