Research Papers: Burçin Becerik-Gerber

Ten Questions Concerning Human-Building Interaction Research for Improving the Quality of Life

By Burçin Becerik-Gerber et al.

Building and Environment


This paper seeks to address ten questions that explore the burgeoning field of Human-Building Interaction (HBI), an interdisciplinary field that represents the next frontier in convergent research and innovation to enable the dynamic interplay of human and building interactional intelligence. The field of HBI builds on several existing efforts in historically separate research fields/communities and aims to understand how buildings affect human outcomes and experiences, as well as how humans interact with, adapt to, and affect the built environment and its systems, to support buildings that can learn, enable adaptation, and evolve at different scales to improve the quality-of-life of its users while optimizing resource usage and service availability. Questions were developed by a diverse group of researchers with backgrounds in design, engineering, computer science, social science, and health science. Answers to these questions draw conclusions from what has been achieved to date as reported in the available literature and establish a foundation for future HBI research. This paper aims to encourage interdisciplinary collaborations in HBI research to change the way people interact with and perceive technology within the context of buildings and inform the design, construction, and operation of next-generation, intelligent built environments. In doing so, HBI research can realize a myriad of benefits for human users, including improved productivity, health, cognition, convenience, and comfort, all of which are essential to societal well-being.

Ten Questions Concerning the Impact of Environmental Stress on Office Workers

By Burcin Becerik-Gerber et al.

Building and Environment


We regularly face stress during our everyday activities, to the extent that stress is recognized by the World Health Organization as the epidemic of the 21st century. Stress is how humans respond physically and psychologically to adjustments, experiences, conditions, and circumstances in their lives. While there are many reasons for stress, work and job pressure remain the main cause. Thus, companies are increasingly interested in creating healthier, more comfortable, and stress-free offices for their workers. The indoor environment can induce environmental stress when it cannot satisfy the individual needs for health and comfort. In fact, office environmental conditions (e.g., thermal, and indoor air conditions, lighting, and noise) and interior design parameters (e.g., office layout, colors, furniture, access to views, distance to window, personal control and biophilic design) have been found to affect office workers’ stress levels. A line of research based on the stress recovery theory offers new insights for establishing offices that limit environmental stress and help with work stress recovery. To that end, this paper answers ten questions that explore the relation between the indoor office-built environment and stress levels among workers. The answers to the ten questions are based on an extensive literature review to draw conclusions from what has been achieved to date. Thus, this study presents a foundation for future environmental stress related research in offices.

Consumption and Conservation Behaviors Among Affordable Housing Residents in Southern California

By Burcin Becerik-Gerber et al.,

Energy and Buildings


Affordable housing residents, who are most impacted by rising utility costs and often misunderstood in terms of their energy and water use practices, are usually overlooked in conservation efforts. This study aims to explore the consumption and conservation behaviors, satisfaction and experience with building services, energy burden, and conservation drivers among affordable housing residents and help identify ways to reduce their utility bills and improve their overall quality of life. The research builds on a questionnaire that facilitated the collection of data from residents of four affordable housing facilities in Southern California. Drawing from the findings, this study outlines key intervention strategies aimed at enhancing efficiency while also identifying potential implementation barriers. Educational programs and the installation of Photovoltaic (PV) solar panels emerge as potential pivotal interventions. The findings of this study could inform designers, engineers, developers, policymakers, and other stakeholders in the affordable housing sector about ways to educate residents for sustaining long-term behavior change, promoting residents’ participation in consumption reduction missions, and facilitating the success of demand response (DR) programs.

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