Joana Abreu, Ph.D.

Senior Staff – Human-Systems Dynamics, Building Energy Systems
  • Understanding Behavioral Change 
  • Design for Sustainability 
  • Technology Pilots and Evaluation

Dr. Joana Abreu leads human-systems dynamics research for Fraunhofer CSE’s Building Energy Systems Group. At Fraunhofer CSE, she works with a team comprising engineers, building scientists and psychologists to apply experimental psychology methods to complex systems-level research in both field and laboratory research projects. She developed an externally-funded interdisciplinary research program that includes such diverse subjects as energy efficiency, social science, data analytics, environmental engineering and geographical information systems.

Joana joined Fraunhofer CSE in 2013. Her work centers on the intersection of home energy management technology, data analytics, occupant behavior, and building science to understand energy-use decisions and behaviors and to evaluate the human factors in demand response, technology adoption and acceptance.

Prior to joining Fraunhofer Joana co-designed and managed the automated demand response project “Roriz On Demand” a residential demand response field experiment involving 450 residential users (38% recruitment rate). She was also an independent expert to GALP, a National utility, in the award winning  the residential feedback interface Smart Galp. In 2009 she co-authored a project NET ZERO Energy School: Reaching the Community, focused on evaluating the impact of information provided at school in residential energy dependent habits.

Joana has worked in industry and government for over 15 years. She holds a Doctoral Degree in Sustainable Energy Systems from the MIT Portugal Program studying habitual behavior and feedback in the residential sector and a Master’s degree in geographical information systems from the University of Leeds, UK.

In her spare time Joana enjoys biking, surfing New England’s baby-waves and hiking with her son and their dog.

Recent Presentations and Publications

Abreu, J. - October 9, 2018
User Testing to Improve User Experience & Utility Program Delivery. Behavior, Energy & Climate Change Conference (BECC), ACEEE, CIEE, and PEEC at Stanford University. Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill, Washington D.C..
Joana presents on Tuesday, October 9th during the Digital Media for Energy Savings Session 4B in Regency D, 10:30am –...
Abreu, J., Voge, J., Roth, K. (2018).
Outdoor temperature drives the peak demand of summer-peaking el ectric utilities and their grid infrastructure.
Abreu, J., McIlvennie, C., Wingartz, N., Mammoli, A. (2018).
What Would You Do To Keep The Lights On In Your Community? In: 2018 ACEEE Summer Study Proceedings. Washington D.C.: ACEEE, 11-1 to 11-15.
Previous studies have conclude d that residential demand respons e (DR) coupled with IT integration can improve the...
Abreu, J. - August 14, 2018
Joana Abreu presented on Panel 8 - Capturing Savings through Behavior: Science and Practice on Aug 14, Session 1, 8:30...
Abreu, J. - August 14, 2018
Joana Abreu presented on Panel 11 – Resilient Sustainable Communities, on Aug 14, Session 2, 10:30 am - 12:00 pm.
Fontanini, A., Abreu, J. (2018).
A Data-Driven BIRCH Clustering Method for Extracting Typical Load Profiles for Big Data. In: IEEE Power & Energy General Meeting. Portland: IEEE PES.
In typical load shape analysis, many different clustering methods have been used to segment customers, interpret...
Wang, Z., Rahnamay-Naeini, M., Abreu, J., Shuvro, R., Das, P., Mammoli, A., et al. (2018).
(Paper accepted) Human operators play a key role in the reliable operation of critical infrastructures. However, human...
Abreu, J., Pike, B. - November 13, 2017
Abreu, J. - February 3, 2017
Understanding demand flexibility in households. City, Energy, Information Symposium & Workshop, Pennsylvania State University. Pennsylvania State University - Stuckeman Family Building, University Park, PA.
Abreu, J. (2016).
Abreu, J., Simoes, J. (2016).
On Demand: Evaluation of a Behavioral Automated Demand Response Field Experiment. In: 4th European Conference on Behavior and Energy Efficiency. Portugal: Proceedings of Behave 2016 Coimbra, pp. 1-4.
Abreu, J. , Roth, K. (2016).
This paper describes a field experiment to test two behavioral interventions designed to increase the effective use of...
Abreu, J., Hardy, N., Pereira, F., Zeifman, M. (2015).
Modeling Human Reliability in the Power Grid Environment: an Application of the SPAR-H Methodology. In: Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting. , pp. 1-5.
Abreu, J., Lehman, K., Terpstra, N., Roth, K. (2014).
Plug&Play™ PV system is a cutting-edge technology that relies on lighter, adhesive solar modules, and a streamlined...
Abreu, J. , Roth, K., Feldman, J. (2014).
St. Polycarp Village is an affordable housing residency in Somerville, MA. The buildings are high efficiency, with LEED...
Abreu, J. , Roth, K., Feldman, J. (2013).
Residential energy consumption accounts for 22% of the United StatesÕ total energy demand (Ehrhardt-Martinez, et al.,...
Abreu, J., Vasconcelos, J. - June 22, 2012
An evidence of self-assignment bias in a residential study and consequent assessment of differences in consumption to National trends. Portugal em Conferencia para uma Economica Energeticamente Eficiente, Coimbra, Portugal.
Abreu, J., Pereira, F.C., Ferrao, P. (2012).
Abreu, J., Pereira, F.C., J. (2012).
Discovering Electricity Usage Routines in Households to Enable Tailored Feedback. In: American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy Buildings Summer Study. Pacific Grove, pp. 7.1-7.9.
Abreu, J., Azevedo, I., Pereira, F. (2011).
A contribution to better understand the demand for electricity in the residential sector. In: European Council for Energy Efficient Economies (ECEEE) Summer Study 2011. : ECEEE.
Abreu, J., Azevedo, I., Pereira, F. (2011).
Smart Energy Systems. In: IEEE Pervasive Computing. 10(1): IEEE CS, 64.
Abreu, J., Pereira, F. , Vasconcelos, J., Ferrão, P. (2010).
An approach to discover the potential for demand response in the domestic sector. In: 2010 IEEE Conference on Innovative Technologies for an Efficient and Reliable Electricity Supply. 10(1), Waltham: IEEE, pp. 240 - 245.


Joana Abreu, Ph.D.
Senior Staff – Human-Systems Dynamics, Building Energy Systems
Office +1 (617) 575-7265