Intersecting heuristic adaptive strategies, building design and energy saving intentions when facing discomfort environment: A cross-country analysis

Publication Type

Journal Article

Date Published





Occupants' adaptive strategies play an important role in the energy consumption of office buildings. Previous research has mostly focused on the adaptive strategies triggered by occupants' indoor discomfort; however, it is crucial to understand if specific adaptive strategies are linked to occupants' energy-saving intentions. This study explores the relationships among employees’ heuristic decision-making in their first choice of adaptive strategies (technological solutions or personal adjustments) when facing extreme discomfort conditions, and their energy-saving intentions, then links these patterns with building design, workplace contextual factors, and demographics. A cross-sectional survey was collected among university employees from China, Brazil, Italy, Poland, Switzerland, and the US. Our results demonstrated that the accessibility to indoor environmental controls (IECs) and office type are the significant factors for adaptive strategies. There was a positive relationship between the number of IEC features and the percentage of employees choosing a technological solution. When feeling too hot, occupants in private offices are more likely to adopt a technological solution, whereas occupants in cubicles are more likely to choose a personal adjustment. Occupants with energy-saving intentions are less likely to choose thermostat adjustments or use portable devices as adaptive strategies than their counterparts. Finally, the cluster analysis suggests females were more likely to use adaptive strategies for energy-saving purposes than males. The majority of occupants would turn on/off lighting to save energy. The study provides the contributions in the connection between the heuristic decision-making process and energy-saving intentions and recommendations on design strategies for building architects, engineers, and managers.



Building and Environment



Year of Publication






Research Areas