UserTEC - User Practices, Technologies and Residential Energy Consumption, was a five years multidisciplinary research project supported by Innovation Fund Denmark and the former Danish Council for Strategic Research. The project ended in spring 2018.
The project was based at Aalborg University and carried through in cooperation with University of Cambridge, University of Oxford, Linköping University, Delft University of Technology and Technical University of Denmark, as well as in cooperation with major Danish and international companies within the building and energy sector.
UserTEC has looked at how different types of households use energy in everyday life, how this is related to the design of buildings and technologies, and how different professions and sectors talk about this. One aspect has been to investigate why energy efficiency and low energy buildings often do not deliver as much energy savings as expected. This so-called performance gap has been investigated in a number of empirical contexts, which show that users customize their comfort practices to the more efficient technologies - that, in other words, we raise our comfort expectations in our homes when they become more efficient. UserTEC has looked at how this knowledge can be used in the design of new building technologies and construction projects and in ways to provide feedback to users about their indoor climate. The project points to interdisciplinary knowledge to develop new efficient technologies, and that we need more knowledge about how households' everyday practice evolves over time. Two new major research projects have been initiated to work on these topics.