Acceptance and Improvement of Low-Energy-House Components as a Mutual Learning Process of Users and Producers

The aim of this research project is to evaluate the experiences of users of balanced ventilation systems in residential low energy buildings, to analyse the pre-conditions which influence occupants' acceptance of ventilation and heating systems, and to develop strategies to support a wide dissemination and user-friendlier design of these low energy house technologies.


Austrian Federal Ministry of Science and Transport  



  • Centre for Social Innovation (ZSI)
  • University of Innsbruck - Department of Philosophy
  • Austrian Institute for Healthy and Ecological Building
  • Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration - Department of Retailing and Marketing
  • University of Twente - Centre for Studies of Science, Technology and Society (WMW)

Successful dissemination strategies will in the long run depend on better matching technical and planning concepts to the needs and expectations of users. A central claim of this research project is that the eventual improvement of low energy house technologies will have to be organised as a mutual learning process of component producers and users (users in a wide sense, i.e. professionals, companies, building societies, etc.). Based on previously developed concepts, such as the Dutch programme of ‘Constructive Technology Assessment’ or von Hippel’s ‘lead user concept’, the project report will also sketch possibilities for broadening the design process of technologies by actively involving various types of users. Methods and Project steps:

  1. Social survey of low-energy-house residents’ acceptance of controlled ventilation and heating systems; quantitative analysis of 144 questionnaires from residents of single-family houses and blocks of flats; in-depth interviews with 30 residents.
  2. Market research based on a qualitative analysis of interview data employing the GABEK-method to design appropriate marketing strategies.
  3. Interviews with building experts, e.g. component manufacturers, planners, architects, building professionals and building societies regarding barriers and opportunities for a wider dissemination of ventilation systems in Austria.
  4. Development of strategies to involve users in technology innovation processes on a broader and more systematic base.