Exploring the influence of housing design and occupant environmental attitudes on energy and water usage
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Sustainable housing is intended to achieve a lower impact on the environment; however, to what extent occupants and their behaviour are a determinant in realising this goal is unclear. In this article occupant attitudes towards the environment are used as an indicator of behaviour while resource usage is used as an indicator for the environment. A study of occupants of sustainable and conventional housing is used to examine this question. The results show that the former use 75% less energy compared with those of conventional houses of the same age, in the same climate zone. More positive attitudes to environmental conservation correlated with lower energy use, but were not found to be a statistically significant predictor of energy use when analysed with other predictor variables. Hence, we argue that sustainable ousing characteristics and associated technologies have a much higher weighting relative to occupant attitudinal factors. The data also suggest that the sustainable design of a detached house is associated with approximately double the reduction in energy consumption, compared with the influence of pro-environmental attitudes. Hence, sustainable attributes in the design of housing is a significant indicator in determining the resource usage of housing in this study. The implications of these results have an important part to play in the debate on influence of behavioural factors compared with technological factors in the drive to higher energy efficiency.
Architectural Science Review
© 2012 Taylor & Francis. This is an electronic version of an article published in Architectural Science Review, Volume 55, Issue 3, 2012, Pages 176-185. Architectural Science Review is available online at: http://www.tandfonline.com with the open URL of your article.
Environmental Sciences not elsewhere classified
Psychology not elsewhere classified