Towards a framework to evaluate the ‘total’ performance of buildings

Jonathon Taylor, Yanchen Liu, Borong Lin, Esfand Burman, Sung Min Hong, Juan Yu, Zhe Wang, Dejan Mumovic, Clive Shrubsole, Daan Vermeer, Mike Davies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Internationally, buildings are a major contributor to carbon emissions. Despite significant advances in the technology and construction of energy-efficient buildings, in many cases a performance gap between designed and actual performance exists. While much research has investigated the drivers of the building energy performance gap – both static and transient– there has been considerably less research into the total performance gap, defined here as performance gaps in building energy use, occupant satisfaction and Indoor Environmental Quality parameters such as thermal comfort and air quality which may impact on occupant health and wellbeing. This paper presents a meta-analysis of building performance data from buildings in the UK and China – selected due to their contrasting development environments – which illustrate the presence of and complexities of evaluating total performance gaps in both countries. The data demonstrate the need for (1) high end-use, spatial granularity and temporal resolution data for both energy and Indoor Environmental Quality, and (2) developing methodologies that allow meaningful comparisons between buildings internationally to facilitate learning from successful building design, construction methodologies and policy environments internationally. Using performance data from a UK building, a potential forward path is illustrated with the objective of developing a framework to evaluate total building performance. Practical application: While much research has examined building energy performance gaps, Indoor Environmental Quality and occupant satisfaction gaps are rarely included despite their relationship to energy. We use a meta-analysis of energy, indoor environmental quality, and occupant satisfaction data from buildings in the UK and China to illustrating the presence of and complexities of evaluating total performance gaps for buildings in the two countries, and the need for high resolution dynamic buildings data and novel methodologies for comparison between buildings across different contexts. Illustrative case studies are used to demonstrate potential future directions for evaluating ‘total’ building performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)609-631
Number of pages23
JournalBuilding Services Engineering Research and Technology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2018
Externally publishedYes
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Building performance gap
  • buildings energy performance
  • China
  • indoor environmental quality
  • occupant satisfaction
  • UK

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Building and Construction


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