Practical differences in operating buildings across countries and climate zones: Perspectives of building managers/operators

André, M.; Bandurski, K.; Bandyopadhyay, A.; Bavaresco, M.; Buonocore, C.; Castro, L.; Hahn, J.; Kane, M.; Lingua, C.; Pioppi, B.; Piselli, C.; Spigliantini, G.; Vergerio, G.; Lamberts, R.
Energy & Buildings

Occupant-centric building design and operation has attracted recent research efforts in many countries, as building occupants are being more recognized as the main drivers in planning and operating safe, comfortable, energy-efficient indoor environments. In this matter, the role of building managers and operators is crucial to capture the needs of occupants and to adapt the response of the building accordingly. IEA EBC Annex 79 participants conducted 72 interviews with operators and facility managers across 7 countries (Brazil, Canada, Germany, Italy, Poland, Singapore, and USA) covering a wide range of ASHRAE 169 climate zones (from 0 to 5 in the climate classification). This paper presents a qualitative cross-case analysis of operators’ perspectives and experiences to identify regional differences. Therefore, the analyses are based on the hypotheses that climate or other country-related aspects would be the main drivers of building operation procedures differences. Results show climatic differences have little influence on building management, while occupants' complaints are very influenced by them. Moreover, operators are lacking clear tools, like guidelines and standards, on how to optimize building management in a climatic-adaptive and occupant-centric manner. Therefore, the development of operation protocols for building sustainable operation respecting climatic context and occupants’ control is recommended.