Literature sets personal control over indoor environmental conditions in relation to the gap between predicted and actual energy use, the gap between predicted and observed user satisfaction, and health aspects. A focus on building energy performance often leads to the proposal of more automated and less occupant control of the indoor environment. However, a high degree of personal control is desirable because research shows that a low degree (or no) personal control highly correlates with indoor environmental dissatisfaction and sick building syndrome symptoms. These two tendencies seem contradictory and optimisation almost impossible. Based on current efficiency classes describing the effect of room automation systems on building energy use during operation, fundamental thoughts related to thermophysiology and control, recent laboratory experiments, important lessons learnt from post-occupancy studies, and documented conceptual frameworks on the level of control perceived, we discuss the ambivalence of personal control and how much personal control is adequate. Often-proposed solutions ranging from fully automated controls, over manual controls to dummy controls are discussed according to their effect on a) building energy use during operation and b) occupants perceived control. ... mehrThe discussion points to the importance of adequate personal control. In order to meet the goals for nearly zero energy buildings and for a human-centric design, there is the need to establish design procedures for adequate personal control as part of the design process.