Faculty Seed Grant: Energy and Comfort Perceptions in University Housing

This project implements a cross-disciplinary mixed-methods study to investigate adaptive comfort opportunities in university-owned and managed residential buildings to better understand the human-building interface, resulting in energy use implications in buildings and potential areas for interface and design improvement.

The primary aims of this project are to better understand 1) what is really happening in buildings, and 2) why is there a disconnect between the occupants and the building interface?

Ultimately, findings from this study will provide major insights about the importance of: (a) the human-building interface, (b) design missteps and lessons learned, and (c) understanding the building context when implementing behavioral approaches. This research has the potential to greatly improve university-managed residence design and controls by developing a better understanding of how design impacts occupant comfort and perception of personal control. In turn, this new knowledge will be disseminated to the building design community, including architects, interior designers, industrial designers, and engineers.

Great thanks to Washington State University’s Housing and Residence Life Department for allowing this study to be possible and for the opportunities presented by its findings in the future. Thank you to the Faculty Seed Grant at Washington State University for sponsoring this proposal. With the completion of this work, a dorm and apartment energy-saving campaign for the Pullman campus will be pursued.

Publications and final reports of this project and its conclusions are published in our 2020 Annual Report!