The Experimental Application of an Occupant Tracking Technology in Domestic Post-Occupancy Evaluation

Holland, Richard (2006) The Experimental Application of an Occupant Tracking Technology in Domestic Post-Occupancy Evaluation. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Abstract

From 1971 to 2004, the UK population increased by 6.5% to 59.8 million while the number of homes increased by 30% to 24.2 million. Despite this growth, the industry is still accused of delivering homes that are overly expensive, environmentally unsustainable and deficient in number. The wish of the Government is that by 2016 the number of annual new additions in England will have increased by a third to 200,000, though there is little planned to assess how they meet the changing lifestyle needs of consumers.

The Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) has proposed that post-occupancy evaluation (POE) should be regarded as the preferred means of assessment; though a standard approach has yet to be developed for housing. Parallel to this, consumer surveys, including those carried out in this thesis, consistently report that 70% or more of buyers would pay more for an energy efficient home, which is generally regarded as one of the most important characteristics of a good home. However, the vast majority of existing homeowners are unable or unwilling to pay for the modifications that their homes require. In this thesis the connection is made that POE is also the most appropriate tool to investigate whether the supposed roader benefits of sustainability, such as improved comfort, lifestyle and energy security, can be evidenced in a quantifiable way so that they could be promoted to motivate homeowners to collectively improve the performance of the sector.

The efficiency of space use is emerging as an aspect of sustainability of special importance, and the density of new developments increased from 25 to 40 homes per hectare in the years 1997 to 2004. The culmination of this thesis is therefore a substantial experiment undertaken to inform interior layout designers, whereby the daily movements of a household of 4 were remotely tracked using a radio frequency identification (RFID) system. This application of RFID for space use POE was a novel one, and the data was collected in a more discreet and objective way than is possible using the preferred sociology techniques of interviews or ethnography. Although some technical concerns developed during the experiment, an estimated 94% of the desired data was accurately collected. The demonstrated conclusion was that recognisable patterns within the tracking data are insightful and can assist house designers to arrange spaces more effectively. Also that tracking systems could affect building energy efficiency directly if comfort heating, cooling and lighting are targeted to only those areas that are known to be occupied by a building management system. These conclusions were then expanded upon by a survey that demonstrated how a portfolio of household behaviours could be beneficial as a tool for designing efficient and sustainable interior spaces in the future.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Supervisors:Gillott, Mark
Uncontrolled Keywords:Housing, post occupancy evaluation, POE, radio frequency identification, RFID, space, efficiency
Faculties/Schools:UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > School of the Built Environment
ID Code:235
Deposited By:Richard Holland
Deposited On:24 Apr 2007
Last Modified:06 Feb 2009 14:43

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