We want to understand the ways in which low carbon buildings modify occupant energy behaviours and practices, and potentially benefit occupants both financially and socially. We are not only interested in the benefits of living in a low carbon home, we want to measure the potential impact on an entire community.
Our research is feeding into future policy and design to ensure that people’s needs are at the heart of this changing landscape.
This long-term, evidence-based research is being conducted via a series of interviews, surveys and diaries over the course of the project at different case study sites around south Wales. Two complementary research strands will be led by Swansea and Cardiff Universities.
Dr Deborah Morgan and Dr Carol Maddock, researchers in the Centre for Innovative Ageing at Swansea University will be exploring whether living in a new low carbon home brings health, social and financial well-being benefits. The team are distributing questionnaires targeting new and future occupants of low emissions homes, with repeated visits between now and 2022 used to quantify benefits from living in low emissions homes and communities.
Dr Kate O’Sullivan and Dr Fiona Shirina of Cardiff University will be leading our user behaviour and engagement study. This is aimed at discovering if and how technical and social innovations in building design are capable of maintaining changes in built energy infrastructure at different scales (household, neighbourhoods, local community networks).
The Active Building Centre Research Programme has also established a Healthy Aging expert advisory group and carried out studies on health, fuel poverty, social and wellbeing benefits to complement academic research activities.