Holistic energy renovation

Scientific study of the interplay between people's energy behaviour and energy renovations. The project is a contribution to the large-scale EU project READY.

The objective of the Be-Ready project is to identify potential health and indoor climate impacts of EU’s energy renovation project READY*.

Be-Ready will also test if users can change energy behaviour as a result of energy renovations.

The project targets key players in the Danish building industry who are planning energy-saving renovations and indoor climate improvements in the housing stock (e.g. owners, consultants, developers, suppliers and tenants).

* READY is a demonstration project under EU’s FP7 programme with a budget of 33 million Euros. The purpose of the project is to offer guidance to future large-scale energy renovation projects in the EU. The project will be carried out in Aarhus, Denmark, and Växjö, Sweden, where a total of approx. 50,000 m2 of living area is to be renovated – including 400 flats in Aarhus alone.

Start date: 01-01-2015 / End date: 31-12-2017

The findings of Be-Ready will be incorporated into future energy renovation initiatives to avoid indoor climate problems.

The Alexandra Institute’s role in Be-Ready is, for example, to carry out field visits to selected households in housing associations to identify the role that people’s behaviour and practices in the home has on the indoor climate.

Our work is based on the theoretical model The Contextual Wheel of Practice developed by the Alexandra Institute.

The activities in Be-Ready includes a mapping of:

  • Indoor climate in housing associations before the renovation
  • Indoor climate conditions in housing associations after the renovation
  • Occupants’ behaviour, health, comfort and satisfaction before the renovation
  • Occupants’ behaviour, health, comfort and satisfaction after the renovation

The criterion for success is to carry out a high-quality scientific study and to acquire a sufficient amount of data to make the study relevant and useful.

The Alexandra Institute invites selected tenants in housing associations to participate in field visits and in-depth interviews to identify the role that people’s behaviour in the home has on the indoor climate. What daily practices in the home have an impact on the indoor climate and what are the opportunities and challenges when it comes to achieving a comfortable and healthy indoor climate? The study is based on a practice-theoretical understanding of energy consumption and indoor climate developed by the Alexandra Institute:

Klik for større billede

We base our work on The Contextual Wheel of Practice – a theoretical method and model that uses insights from psychology, anthropology, sociology and HCI. In the project the Contextual Wheel of Practice reveals the factors that affect people’s practices in the home – and with that their energy consumption and the indoor climate (click for larger image).


When possible, participants are selected based on the indoor climate values measured in their apartments. This gives us a sample of different indoor climate values distributed over a continuum ranging from good to poor. If this is not possible because of lack of measurements, participants are chosen based on criteria such as age, number of occupants in the home, heat consumption per square metre, ethnic background and family structure.

We carry out 25 field visits before the energy renovation. We develop and adapt field material, such as interview guides, before and during the study. Each field visit takes place in the interviewee’s home and lasts approx. two hours. A field visits includes a home tour and a semi-structured interview that focuses on daily practices in the home that influence indoor climate and energy consumption. The visits are documented in field notes, audio recordings and photos, provided we have the consent of the occupants. We use Nvivo to analyse field data, based on the practice-theoretical model shown above.

The results will be compared to results from questionnaires. Due to lack of resources, we will only do 10 follow-up visits after the completion of the energy renovation. 

The project will publish a number of scientific papers that analyse the interplay among energy renovation, health and indoor climate in the energy renovation project READY under EU’s FP7 programme.

The papers will serve as recommendations for future energy renovation projects in housing associations to ensure that the indoor climate is improved as well.

Aarhus University, Department of Public Health

Aarhus University, Department of Engineering


Be-Ready is funded by the (former) Danish Ministry of Housing, Urban and Rural Affairs. Total budget distributed among project partners: DKK 2,981,000.

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