Culture, conformity, and carbon? A multi-country analysis of heating and cooling practices in office buildings

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Journal Article

Date Published



This study investigates human-building interaction in office spaces across multiple countries including Brazil, Italy, Poland, Switzerland, the United States, and Taiwan. We analyze social-psychological, contextual, and demographic factors to explain cross-country differences in adaptive thermal actions (i.e. cooling and heating behaviors) and conformity to the norms of sharing indoor environmental control features, an indicator of energy consumption. Specifically, personal adjustments such as putting on extra clothes are generally preferred over technological solutions such as adjusting thermostats in reaction to thermal discomfort. Social-psychological factors including attitudes, perceived behavioral control, injunctive norms, and perceived impact of indoor environmental quality on work productivity influence occupants’ intention to conform to the norms of sharing environmental control features. Lastly, accessibility to environmental control features, office type, gender, and age are also important factors. These findings demonstrate the roles of social-psychological and certain contextual factors in occupants’
interactions with building design as well as their behavior of sharing environmental control features, both of which significantly influence building energy consumption, and thus, broader decarbonization.


Energy Research & Social Science



Year of Publication






Short Title

Energy Research & Social Science