In this Smart Living Lunch titled “Interactions between energy use, COMfort, Behaviour, and INdoor Environment in office buildings”, Dr. Verena M. Barthelmes (TEBEL, EPFL) will present selected results from the eCOMBINE project developed as a joint effort with HOBEL and LIPID (EPFL). Follow the online presentation on 8 June 2021 from 11:00 to 12:00. Link on demand.

Despite significant advancements in the field of energy-related behavioural research in buildings, gaining a more comprehensive and “multi-dimensional” understanding of drivers behind human-building interactions is needed to better incorporate the user perspective in building design and operation practice. Oftentimes, the assumed motivations behind actions come solely from physical measurements of the environment and the perception of such physical indoor environmental qualities is an assumed prerequisite for the action. Studies focused on occupant perception show a large variance between and within individuals when exposed to similar environmental stimuli, which means that inferences made from physical measurements might not always reflect the real triggers behind occupants’ actions. Requesting feedback directly from occupants may hence provide valuable insights on the perceived triggers for their interactions with controls.

In the eCOMBINE project, the impulse behind perceptions and the dynamic and multivariable behaviour of occupants was investigated in a field study with the implementation of point-in-time mobile questionnaires coupled with IEQ (indoor environmental quality) measurements (thermal, visual, air quality and noise). Even though the primary motivations for windows and blind control actions were rather logical, users were often driven by multiple motivations to interact with their environment, suggesting that a single criterion might not always be necessarily enough to capture an occupant’s action.

This project is supported by the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE).

Smart Living Lunch | Interactions between energy use, COMfort, Behaviour, and INdoor Environment in office buildings Online | 11:00-12:00



Verena Marie Barthelmes

Thermal Engineering for the Built Environment Laboratory (TEBEL)
Scientific Assistant- EPFL
-modeling, simulations and algorithms
-human-building interaction
-user-centered interfaces


Thermal Engineering for the Built Environment Laboratory (TEBEL)