Modelling of User Behaviour in Low- and Plus-Energy Buildings

How do the people using low energy buildings actually deal with these somewhat extreme constructions

Modern office buildings can be constructed in a way that keeps their energy consumption extremely low during operation. An important question that arises in this context is how the users deal with these somewhat extreme constructions. The project identifies the necessary parameters for more user satisfaction and analyses how people can be motivated to participate in the concept to achieve optimal building operation.

Emphasis is put on gender and diversity issues. Requirements and behavior of users of different gender, age, ethnic groups, lifestyles, education levels etc. are being examined. The developed recommendations will support facility managers of service buildings and provide evidence for future planning processes for buildings and for building automation.

First, qualitative interviews will provide a picture of user behaviour and its implications for building operation. This will also help to identify the factors which determine behaviour and user satisfaction on a personal and a logistic level, Then, using the method of agent-based social simulation, the influence of attitudes, knowledge, decision-making structure and mutual influence of users and the resulting collective behaviour and its effects on building operation will be simulated. Finally, experts, facility managers and building operators will present their evaluation of user interviews and the simulation as well as their experience with good practice through interviews and workshops.

The recommendations for building planners, property developers, house technicians and facility managers are supposed to be presented via an online tool. The overall outcome includes

  • options on the level of technical building equipment to better incorporate user requirements/li>
  • options on the decision-making and management level to effectively involve users in the building management
  • options for information and awareness raising
  • a test as to whether agent-based social simulation of user behaviour and decision making is a suitable ‘tool’ to support building planners and facility managers




  • Ornetzeder, M., Wicher, M., & Suschek-Berger, J. (2016). User satisfaction and well-being in energy efficient office buildings: Evidence from cutting-edge projects in Austria. Energy And Buildings, 118, 18-26. doi:10.1016/j.enbuild.2016.02.036
  • ITA [Hrsg.],. (2016). Energy-efficient office buildings. ITA-Dossier no. 19en (January 2016; Author: Michael Ornetzeder). Wien. doi:10.1553/ita-doss-019en
  • ITA [Hrsg.],. (2016). Energiesparende Bürogebäude. ITA-Dossier Nr. 19 (Jänner 2016; Autor: Michael Ornetzeder). Wien. doi:10.1553/ita-doss-019
  • Suschek-Berger, J., Haslinger, J., Freitag, D., Ornetzeder, M., Thaler, A., Tritthart, W., & Wicher, M. (2014). Build to satisfy: Modellierung des NutzerInnenverhaltens in Niedrigst- und Plusenergiegebäuden. Auswirkung auf Gebäudeperformance und Zufriedenheit – Build to satisfy ENDBERICHT (Berichte aus Energie- und Umweltforschung 32/2014) (p. 129). Graz. Retrieved from
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Conference Papers/Speeches

Conference Papers/Speeches

  • 06/12/2016 , Trondheim
    Michael Ornetzeder: 
    Mind the Gap: Improving energy performance without compromising user well-being in a green office building in Austria
    Interdisciplinary MINDER Research Symposium NTNU
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02/2012 - 12/2013