FEELings - User Feedback for Energy Efficiency in Buildings

User behavior is a key factor for the energy consumption and the actual energetic performance of a building. A new type of user feedback system will be investigated in this research project. Users provide feedback on the sensed room quality. The data obtained by the feedback system are used to optimize settings of building services in order to improve the energy efficiency and the comfort in the building. A basic proof of concept of this system will be undertaken by means of two use cases.

Short Description

Energy efficiency plays an important role in the building sector. According to the European Commission, buildings account for 40 % of energy consumption and 36 % of CO2 emissions in the European Union. Studies have shown that a change in user behavior can reduce energy consumption by up to 15 %. Previous research projects used information and communication technologies to analyze and influence user behavior. However, the subjective well-being of building users has only been considered rudimentarily so far.

The objective of this research project was to develop mobile applications that allow building users to give comprehensive feedback about the indoor climate, e.g. with regard to thermal comfort, functionality of building services, acoustics etc. For this purpose, a new user feedback system was designed in this project and a proof of concept was undertaken.

The data obtained by the feedback system were combined with the correlating measured room conditions. Data analysis methods were subsequently used to identify inefficient operating modes. Moreover, the user feedback data was used to optimize set points of building services systems.

The overall objective was the proof of concept of such a user feedback system and to investigate its potential for increasing the energy efficiency and comfort in buildings. The functional model of the user feedback system developed in the FEELings project was tested in two different use cases in order to demonstrate the general applicability.

The test phase showed that the implemented user feedback system is suitable for collecting comprehensive feedback from building users. In combination with measurement data of indoor climate conditions and operating states of building services systems, it can also be used to derive recommendations for building operators and generate control signals for building automation systems. The project also showed that energy savings can be achieved by involving the building users. In case of the use case Campus TU Graz, concrete measures were taken to increase the energy efficiency of buildings.

Throughout the FEELings project, aspects of privacy played an important role. The research project was used to examine the impact of such a feedback system on privacy issues.

The project results highlight the potential of the FEELings system. The developed system was comprehensively tested; the concept was evaluated and positively accepted by the users. As a follow-up of this research project, the next step could be the development of a prototype.

Project Partners

Project management

Univ.-Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr.techn. Michael Monsberger, Graz University of Technology, Institute for Construction Management and Economics, Integrated Building Systems Work Group

Project or cooperation partners

  • Know-Center GmbH
  • EUDT Energie- und Umweltdaten Treuhand GmbH
  • EAM Systems GmbH

Contact Address

Univ.-Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr.techn. Michael Monsberger
Graz University of Technology
Lessingstraße 27/I
A-8010 Graz
Tel.: + 43 (316) 873 6255
E-mail: michael.monsberger@tugraz.at
Web: www.bbw.tugraz.at