Office Building Behaviour Change 

Institute role: Lead partner

Photo by Ana Paun

Background: The Office Building Behaviour Change project (OBBeC) aimed to develop, test and calibrate an innovative behaviour change programme for owners of multi-tenanted office buildings. The potential for delivering energy and carbon savings through behaviour change is well known. However, a particular challenge occurs in multi-tenanted office buildings, where a split incentive problem often exists between the landlord and the tenants. OBBeC aimed to develop an adaptive behaviour change programme which addressed the specific barriers and creates lasting energy saving behaviour.

Challenge: Office buildings are amongst the highest energy users for non-residential buildings. The office building sector emits 10% of total greenhouse gas emissions in the UK and similarly across other EU countries. It is expected that the majority (70%) of existing office buildings will still be in use in 2050 and in most cases these buildings are rented.

Meeting the 2050 carbon targets will therefore require a significant improvement in energy performance of the majority of existing office buildings. Whilst physically retrofitting these office properties to achieve energy savings will be a central route to mitigate climate change, this will not in itself achieve the required energy and carbon savings due to the gap between predicted and real energy use. Therefore encouraging building owners and occupants to adjust their behaviour is essential if we are to achieve the designed energy savings from building retrofit projects.

Activity: OBBeC developed and tested an innovative behaviour change programme for owners of multi-tenanted office buildings. Aimed at engaging owners, managers and occupiers, the programme was based on 'state of the art' behavioural insights and addressed key variables including building type, landlord/occupant relationships and the organisational motivations for resource efficiency. The programme design allowed it to be tailored to specific end user needs.

Utilising a methodology which took key client side variables into consideration, the partners employed the latest behavioural insights (relating to incentives, policies, technologies and visual tools) to design a tailored behaviour change programme for the key stakeholders within a trial office building. This methodology was tested in both the UK and Spain (two distinct climatic regions within the EU) ensuring that the different market and climate contexts were taken into account.

Stakeholder representatives for building owners, managers and tenants worked with OBBeC partners to help develop the behaviour change programme, influencing the methodology development through input of their experience and specific needs.
All findings which emerged from project activity were shared with participants, providing valuable insight and understanding of the key issues. Stakeholder activities focused on exploring financial, technical, regulatory, cultural and behavioural barriers to energy saving behaviour change within multi-tenanted office buildings.

Partners: University of Reading, Instituto Valenciano de la Edificación.

Funders: The project was funded by the Climate Knowledge and Innovation Community (Climate-KIC), an initiative of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT). Project partners and collaborators also had access to the Climate-KIC community - the most extensive, credible and practical climate change network in Europe.



The project is co-funded by the Climate Knowledge and Innovation Community (Climate-KIC), an initiative of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT)