Living in the "Sustainable Building of Tomorrow" - Book Publication on User Experiences and Socio-Economic Aspects of Sustainable Buildings

The book will give an introduction and a systematic overview of socio-economic research performed in the programme 'Building of Tomorrow' and will present instruments to improve user acceptance and motivation.

Short Description




Without doubt extensive research on socio-economic aspects of sustainable buildings is one of the innovative elements of the R&D programme "Building of Tomorrow" - not only at a national but also at an international level. The category "socio-economic projects" lists 34 research projects which, for example, deal with user behaviour in sustainable buildings, motives guiding the choice of building types or acceptance of new environmental building technologies such as highly efficient ventilation systems or the use of ICT for energy efficiency. Beyond the wide range of empirical results and socio-economic concepts participants of the programme developed and tested instruments to improve user satisfaction and sustainable user behaviour in all phases of the cycle planning-construction-use-refurbishment: focus groups to support the planning process, models for the marketing of sustainable buildings, user participation models or post-occupancy analyses to better adapt building design to user needs. So far the programme has created a rich knowledge source of concepts, data and supportive instruments which should provide a good basis for the construction and planning of more user-friendly green buildings.

However, despite the availability of this rich source of knowledge, a key problem of these programme activities is the lacking systematic analysis, digestion and coherent presentation of the various research results delivered. Relevant empirical data and experiences with instruments and tools or with different technologies often is spread over several extensive project reports which can be used only with significant investment of work and time even by specialists. The starting point for this project thus is the observation that the usability of socio-economic studies of "Building of Tomorrow" as well as the international visibility of this innovative aspect is rather low - indeed, far too low for the potential usefulness and innovativeness of the results produced in the programme.

The aim of this report thus is a systematic review of socio-economic studies of "Building of Tomorrow" and an integration and presentation of concepts, tools and results which is suitable for building practitioners (especially architects, planners, building developers) and for institutions in research and education. Within the project a book publication is planned, which introduces to socio-economic building research and presents data, tools and concepts to understand and improve the usability of sustainable buildings in a comprehensive, amenable and consistent way.

The publication centres on the following socio-economic aspects of sustainable construction:

  • User behaviour, user satisfaction in sustainable buildings, motives for the choice of buildings - presentation of current data and socio-economic concepts
  • User acceptance and attitudes towards environmental building technologies (balanced ventilation systems, heating systems for low energy houses, use of ICT to increase energy efficiency)
  • Marketing and dissemination of sustainable buildings
  • User involvement in planning, construction and refurbishment
  • Instruments and supportive measures (participation models, post-occupancy analyses, accompanying focus groups).

The three parts of this publication are designed to give a structured overview and analysis of the topic ‘sustainable building and living' from a socio-economic perspective. Beside a better understanding of the potential and usefulness of such a conceptual perspective for a better dissemination of green buildings and beside the presentation of rich data from a variety of surveys and qualitative interviews with users and building practitioners, this report shall draw attention to the wealth of socio-economic research results generated in the course of the programme "Buildings of Tomorrow".

Project Partners

Project management

Dr. Harald Rohracher
IFZ - Inter-University Research Centre for Technology, Work and Culture

Project or cooperation partner

Dr. Michael Ornetzeder
Institute for Technology Assessment of the Austrian Academy of Science (ITA)
Strohgasse 45/5
1030 Wien
Tel.: +43 (1) 51581/6589

Contact Address

Dr. Harald Rohracher
IFZ - Inter-University Research Centre for Technology, Work and Culture
Schlögelgasse 2
8010 Graz
Tel.: +43 (316) 813909-24