Resilience to occupancy: findings from recent post occupancy evaluation

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


This presentation is concerned with the nature of occupancy in dwellings. It draws on monitoring and evaluation projects undertaken over the last 14 years by the Mackintosh Environmental Architecture Research Unit (MEARU), but also presents new data emerging from recent Post Occupancy Evaluation projects in Glasgow, Aviemore, Dunoon and Edinburgh; a comparative analysis of two different construction systems used side by side in the Glasgow House; and current work examining the environmental effects of domestic laundry practices. These projects have identified a number of challenging internal conditions that are occurring in a range of different house types. These include high temperatures and humidity, poor air quality, lack of daylight and sunlight. These problems frequently relate to the sometimes complex and difficult nature of building occupancy and its effect on building performance and environment. Is this 'bad behaviour' or is it just real life? While it is easy to ascribe conditions to occupant behaviour, other common factors emerge, including poor controls and understanding of controls; reduced volumes, floor areas and window areas; lack of drying facilities; security; and lack of passive environmental control. The trend in increasingly energy efficient housing has been for increasingly sophisticated solutions for optimum performance, and appear to be a move toward a ?tight fit? systems which may be less tolerant of variable occupancy. At the same time, the idea of behavioural change is gaining currency as a means of improving performance. However, it may be that unless dwellings - both new-build and refurbished - can be designed to be robust enough to cope with a range of different occupancy regimes, they may remain at risk of a series of ?side effects? of unintended negative consequences, including higher rates of energy consumption, or poorer internal conditions. The question that arises is, how buildings can be designed to be resilient to these conditions? The presentation will identify some potential areas for improvement emerging from research by MEARU, including sunlight, thermal mass, controls, post occupancy studies and occupant guidance.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jun 2011
EventResilience of Buildings, Neighbourhoods and Cities CICStart Online Conference -
Duration: 14 Jun 201117 Jun 2011


ConferenceResilience of Buildings, Neighbourhoods and Cities CICStart Online Conference


  • energy
  • building performance
  • housing
  • BPE
  • POE


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