According to a study of energy-use behavior that focused on medium and large office buildings in California, reducing energy use in buildings requires more than isolated changes to technologies or individual behaviors.
The study, Behavioral Strategies to Bridge the Gap Between Potential and Actual Savings in Commercial Buildings, conducted by the California Air Resources Board and the University of California Davis, recommends that future building energy use research include building operators, who are in an ideal position to help shape and vet solutions.
The California researchers say it’s important to recognize the building as a social system and use real buildings and users to experiment with solutions. The researchers stress the role of building operators and recommend training and certification for the profession, with curricula including energy use and energy efficiency.
The study recommends: “Recognize and promote building operations as a green job. Building operators can have a major effect on the indoor environment and indoor air quality as well as on building energy use and sustainability. These potential contributions to environmental sustainability can help make building operations an attractive career.”