A building can have all the latest and greatest sustainable design features and still be inefficient. If occupants don’t buy into these features or understand how to use them, the building’s performance can suffer greatly.
For example, I recently heard about a sustainably designed school where teacher’s were opening the windows to cool off the classroom. The heating system remained on so that energy-generated heat was moving out of the windows. By training the teachers how to adjust the thermostats in their classrooms, the school was able to save a lot of energy and money.
“Most (owners) are not aware of how much influence occupants have in the way they use their space,” says Zorana Bosnic, RIBA, LEED AP BD+C. “To make (occupant) engagement initiatives live through, the owner needs to own them so that they can carry on reminding occupants about the importance of recycling, conserving energy, using task lights, and so on.”
HOK is at the forefront of learning to engage owners in the process of sustainable design and sustainable living. As part of their efforts, they created an Occupant Engagement ProgramTM to help companies fully engage their occupants in energy savings and other green initiatives.
We’d love to hear about other ways that designers are working with owners and occupants to create a more sustainable and pleasant work or living