The role of occupants in buildings’ energy performance gap: Myth or reality?
Reviewartikel, 2021

Buildings’ expected (projected, simulated) energy use frequently does not match actual observations. This is commonly referred to as the energy performance gap. As such, many factors can contribute to the disagreement between expectations and observations. These include, for in-stance, uncertainty about buildings’ geometry, construction, systems, and weather conditions. However, the role of occupants in the energy performance gap has recently attracted much atten-tion. It has even been suggested that occupants are the main cause of the energy performance gap. This, in turn, has led to suggestions that better models of occupant behavior can reduce the energy performance gap. The present effort aims at the review and evaluation of the evidence for such claims. To this end, a systematic literature search was conducted and relevant publications were identified and reviewed in detail. The review entailed the categorization of the studies according to the scope and strength of the evidence for occupants’ role in the energy performance gap. Moreover, deployed calculation and monitoring methods, normalization procedures, and reported causes and magnitudes of the energy performance gap were documented and evaluated. The results suggest that the role of occupants as significant or exclusive contributors to the energy performance gap is not sufficiently substantiated by evidence.

Performance gap

Occupant behavior




Ardeshir Mahdavi

Technische Universität Wien

Christiane Berger

Technische Universität Wien

Hadeer Amin

Technische Universität Wien

Eleni Ampatzi

Cardiff University

Rune Korsholm Andersen

Danmarks Tekniske Universitet (DTU)

Elie Azar

Khalifa University

Verena Barthelmes

Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL)

Matteo Favero

Norges teknisk-naturvitenskapelige universitet

Jakob Hahn

Hochschule für angewandte Wissenschaften München

Dolaana Khovalyg

Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL)

Henrik N. Knudsen

Aalborg Universitet

Alessandra L. Navarro

University of Cambridge

Astrid Roetzel

Deakin University

Fisayo C. Sangogboye

Syddansk Universitet

Marcel Schweiker

RWTH Aachen University

Mahnameh Taheri


Despoina Teli

Chalmers, Arkitektur och samhällsbyggnadsteknik, Installationsteknik

Marianne Touchie

University of Toronto

Silke Verbruggen

Universiteit Gent


2071-1050 (ISSN)

Vol. 13 6 3146







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