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Socio-technical case study method in building performance evaluation

Lowe, R; Chiu, LF; Oreszczyn, T; (2018) Socio-technical case study method in building performance evaluation. Building Research & Information , 46 (5) pp. 469-484. 10.1080/09613218.2017.1361275. Green open access

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Abstract

Raymond J. Cole’s body of work, spanning sustainable design, system complexity and human agency, has encouraged researchers to reconceptualize the notions of comfort and building performance. However, methods for predicting energy use and assessing environmental performance have remained predominantly within a reductionist approach common to physics and engineering. The recognition that building performance is characterized by interactive adaptivity and co-evolution of the physical with the social has not been matched by the generation of new methods. Although social practice theories that articulate the socio-technical nature of the built environment have been increasingly appropriated to understand occupants’ role in performance, the challenge of studying buildings as complex socio-technical systems remains. This methodological paper discusses the application of the case study method (CSM) to the study of 10 retrofit projects selected from the Retrofit for the Future (RfF) Programme in UK between 2011 and 2012. Guided by Greene’s framework for methodological discourse, the epistemic regime is articulated under four headings: philosophical assumptions, investigative logics, guidelines for practice and contribution to system perspective. The discussion of these domains highlights the fecundity of CSM in providing a more nuanced understanding of the interaction between social and technical systems in performance.

Type: Article
Title: Socio-technical case study method in building performance evaluation
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/09613218.2017.1361275
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09613218.2017.1361275
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2017 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/ 4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.
Keywords: building performance, case study, post-occupancy evaluation (POE), research methods, retrofit, socio-technical
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Bartlett School Env, Energy and Resources
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1576346
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