Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2440/60945
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Type: Journal article
Title: Comfort and energy use in five Australian award-winning houses: regulated, measured and perceived
Author: Williamson, T.
Soebarto, V.
Radford, A.
Citation: Building Research and Information, 2010; 38(5):509-529
Publisher: E & FN Spon
Issue Date: 2010
ISSN: 0961-3218
1466-4321
Statement of
Responsibility: 
Terry Williamson,Veronica Soebarto and Antony Radford
Abstract: Building regulations in Australia and elsewhere are increasingly directed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and achieving an efficient use of energy and water. These regulations significantly impact on aspirations with regard to the building design. Five case study houses recognized in awards from the Australian Institute of Architects are investigated for whether they met the aim and criteria of the relevant regulations for energy efficiency and greenhouse gas reductions. Qualitative and quantitative issues surrounding their environmental performance are examined, including occupants' comfort and energy consumption. The findings suggest that the assessment processes underpinning the regulations do not correlate well with measured environmental performance, the perceptions of occupiers, and how these houses are actually designed and operated. The regulatory concept of 'meeting generic needs' fails to account for the diversity of socio-cultural understandings, the inhabitants' expectations and their behaviours. In particular, standards and regulations failed to predict adaptive comfort as well as the low-energy consumption in the five case study houses. A governance challenge is to evaluate the interaction of individual preferences, technical concerns, bio-climatic matters, and the socio-cultural context. The goals and behaviours of inhabitants must be recognized and rewarded because they benefit both the environment and the community.
Keywords: Adaptive comfort; building regulations; design; energy demand; houses; human agency; post-occupancy evaluation; thermal comfort; thermal performance
Rights: © 2010 Taylor & Francis
RMID: 0020100772
DOI: 10.1080/09613218.2010.494890
Appears in Collections:Architecture publications

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