Investigating the performance of everyday domestic practices using building monitoring

Chris Foulds, Jane Powell, Gill Seyfang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


The monitoring of buildings can enhance the understanding of everyday life, yet it has sparsely been used in social practices research. Monitoring usually provides context (e.g. differences in performing practices) for more prominent qualitative enquiry. The potential of building monitoring is investigated for studying the performance of domestic practices. A Passivhaus development is examined for its applicability. Monitoring data include temperature, humidity, CO2 and electricity sub-metering. These data provide a good basis for investigating how technologies relate to the other elements (influences) of practice in shaping everyday life. The benefits and limitations of integrating monitoring with qualitative data are considered (e.g. residents’ enthusiasm for co-investigating monitoring data; monitoring data having insufficient richness without accompanying qualitative data). Monitoring and qualitative data are shown to be complementary, and capable of producing insights beyond those of non-integrated approaches. Building monitoring can be further utilized in researching practices, particularly when considering the everyday implications of technological changes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)622-636
Number of pages15
JournalBuilding Research & Information
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2013


  • built environment
  • consumption practices
  • housing
  • low-carbon housing
  • monitoring
  • occupant behaviour
  • occupant surveys
  • Passivhaus
  • social practice theory

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