Skip to content Skip to navigation

Buildings don't use energy: people do

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Architectural Science Review, Volume 54, Number 1, p.15-22 (2011)



Reducing energy use in buildings is a critical component of meeting carbon reduction commitments. There are several ways of accomplishing this goal, each of which emphasizes actions by a different set of stakeholders. This article argues that building users play a critical but poorly understood and often overlooked role in the built environment. In the face of climate change, the article finds purely architectural solutions, such as those proposed by the Architecture 2030 Challenge, to be necessary but not sufficient to achieve climate change mitigation targets. To fully address the task ahead, it argues that architects need to develop their professional expertise to improve buildings and seek ways of integrating user involvement in building performance. Moreover, it is argued that from a professional standprint, it may be wise for architects to develop a leadership role in this area given the lowest scope of their profession. Yet this must sit within a broader group of building professionals.