Towards an anthropocentric approach in sustainability research

Moustaka, Athena, Smith, Andrew James and Akintoye, Akintola orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-0611-5824 (2012) Towards an anthropocentric approach in sustainability research. In: 11th Euro FM Research Symposium, 24-25 May 2012, Copenhagen, Denmark.

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Since 1973, when the issue of energy consumption was first addressed, there has been extensive research on how energy use in buildings can be reduced. Sustainability research trends of the past four decades have been focusing on how physics and engineering can be employed in building construction by utilizing innovative technologies. The purpose of this paper is to explore alternative paths of energy research that could help reduce energy consumption. Through the existing literature, the paper initially outlines the importance of investigating other existing and emerging research paths into sustainability, in order to minimize energy consumption, and then assesses the potential benefits of these paths for the building user. Currently, sustainable architecture is primarily concerned with employing such technologies and not with how building design affects energy consumption. The social sciences on the other hand have been focusing mainly on the effect of sustainability on local communities and not on the social patterns of energy consumption. Although different paths of potential research have been identified for almost two decades now, there has been limited research into how they can be employed to reduce energy consumption. An alternative path for research into sustainability may also be offered by the advancement of neuroscience, which has recently started providing information on how human perceptions in buildings can be altered simply by architectural design. The theoretical implication of the research is that it may be time to reconsider turning our focus to other disciplines in order to achieve more efficient management and less energy consuming buildings.

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