Comfort and performance impact of personal control over thermal environment in summer

Results from a laboratory study

Atze C. Boerstra, Marije te Kulve, Jørn Toftum, Marcel G.L.C. Loomans, Bjarne W. Olesen, Jan L.M. Hensen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Field studies suggest that the availability of adjustable thermostats, operable windows and other controls has a positive impact on comfort, the incidence of building related symptoms and productivity. This laboratory study was designed to further investigate how having or not having control over the thermal environment affects human responses to the indoor environment.The study was conducted in summer in a field laboratory that was kept at 28°C. A total of 23 subjects were exposed twice for about 2.5h. During the first session (A) subjects were able to fine-tune their local thermal environment at any given time with a personal desk fan with continuous, stepless adjustable control. During the second session (B) subjects still had the desk fans, but this time the fans were controlled from an adjacent room by the researchers who adjusted the individual air speed profiles so they were identical to those recorded during the first session. Thus, each subject was exposed to two customized conditions with identical exposure, only different from a psychological point of view.During the two sessions identical questionnaires and performance tests were used to evaluate subjects' comfort, SBS symptom incidence and performance. As expected, perceived control over the environment was significantly higher during session A, but there were no differences in perceived comfort and SBS symptom intensity. Both self-assessed and objectively measured performance was significantly better during session B. About two-thirds of the subjects indicated to prefer the situation as during the first session when they themselves controlled the air movement.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBuilding and Environment
Volume87
Pages (from-to)315-326
Number of pages12
ISSN0360-1323
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Keywords

  • Adaptive opportunities
  • Environmental psychology
  • Fans
  • Individual control
  • Productivity
  • Thermal comfort

Cite this

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title = "Comfort and performance impact of personal control over thermal environment in summer: Results from a laboratory study",
abstract = "Field studies suggest that the availability of adjustable thermostats, operable windows and other controls has a positive impact on comfort, the incidence of building related symptoms and productivity. This laboratory study was designed to further investigate how having or not having control over the thermal environment affects human responses to the indoor environment.The study was conducted in summer in a field laboratory that was kept at 28°C. A total of 23 subjects were exposed twice for about 2.5h. During the first session (A) subjects were able to fine-tune their local thermal environment at any given time with a personal desk fan with continuous, stepless adjustable control. During the second session (B) subjects still had the desk fans, but this time the fans were controlled from an adjacent room by the researchers who adjusted the individual air speed profiles so they were identical to those recorded during the first session. Thus, each subject was exposed to two customized conditions with identical exposure, only different from a psychological point of view.During the two sessions identical questionnaires and performance tests were used to evaluate subjects' comfort, SBS symptom incidence and performance. As expected, perceived control over the environment was significantly higher during session A, but there were no differences in perceived comfort and SBS symptom intensity. Both self-assessed and objectively measured performance was significantly better during session B. About two-thirds of the subjects indicated to prefer the situation as during the first session when they themselves controlled the air movement.",
keywords = "Adaptive opportunities, Environmental psychology, Fans, Individual control, Productivity, Thermal comfort",
author = "Boerstra, {Atze C.} and {te Kulve}, Marije and J{\o}rn Toftum and Loomans, {Marcel G.L.C.} and Olesen, {Bjarne W.} and Hensen, {Jan L.M.}",
year = "2015",
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language = "English",
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Comfort and performance impact of personal control over thermal environment in summer : Results from a laboratory study. / Boerstra, Atze C.; te Kulve, Marije; Toftum, Jørn; Loomans, Marcel G.L.C.; Olesen, Bjarne W.; Hensen, Jan L.M.

In: Building and Environment, Vol. 87, 2015, p. 315-326.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Comfort and performance impact of personal control over thermal environment in summer

T2 - Results from a laboratory study

AU - Boerstra, Atze C.

AU - te Kulve, Marije

AU - Toftum, Jørn

AU - Loomans, Marcel G.L.C.

AU - Olesen, Bjarne W.

AU - Hensen, Jan L.M.

PY - 2015

Y1 - 2015

N2 - Field studies suggest that the availability of adjustable thermostats, operable windows and other controls has a positive impact on comfort, the incidence of building related symptoms and productivity. This laboratory study was designed to further investigate how having or not having control over the thermal environment affects human responses to the indoor environment.The study was conducted in summer in a field laboratory that was kept at 28°C. A total of 23 subjects were exposed twice for about 2.5h. During the first session (A) subjects were able to fine-tune their local thermal environment at any given time with a personal desk fan with continuous, stepless adjustable control. During the second session (B) subjects still had the desk fans, but this time the fans were controlled from an adjacent room by the researchers who adjusted the individual air speed profiles so they were identical to those recorded during the first session. Thus, each subject was exposed to two customized conditions with identical exposure, only different from a psychological point of view.During the two sessions identical questionnaires and performance tests were used to evaluate subjects' comfort, SBS symptom incidence and performance. As expected, perceived control over the environment was significantly higher during session A, but there were no differences in perceived comfort and SBS symptom intensity. Both self-assessed and objectively measured performance was significantly better during session B. About two-thirds of the subjects indicated to prefer the situation as during the first session when they themselves controlled the air movement.

AB - Field studies suggest that the availability of adjustable thermostats, operable windows and other controls has a positive impact on comfort, the incidence of building related symptoms and productivity. This laboratory study was designed to further investigate how having or not having control over the thermal environment affects human responses to the indoor environment.The study was conducted in summer in a field laboratory that was kept at 28°C. A total of 23 subjects were exposed twice for about 2.5h. During the first session (A) subjects were able to fine-tune their local thermal environment at any given time with a personal desk fan with continuous, stepless adjustable control. During the second session (B) subjects still had the desk fans, but this time the fans were controlled from an adjacent room by the researchers who adjusted the individual air speed profiles so they were identical to those recorded during the first session. Thus, each subject was exposed to two customized conditions with identical exposure, only different from a psychological point of view.During the two sessions identical questionnaires and performance tests were used to evaluate subjects' comfort, SBS symptom incidence and performance. As expected, perceived control over the environment was significantly higher during session A, but there were no differences in perceived comfort and SBS symptom intensity. Both self-assessed and objectively measured performance was significantly better during session B. About two-thirds of the subjects indicated to prefer the situation as during the first session when they themselves controlled the air movement.

KW - Adaptive opportunities

KW - Environmental psychology

KW - Fans

KW - Individual control

KW - Productivity

KW - Thermal comfort

U2 - 10.1016/j.buildenv.2014.12.022

DO - 10.1016/j.buildenv.2014.12.022

M3 - Journal article

VL - 87

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EP - 326

JO - Building and Environment

JF - Building and Environment

SN - 0360-1323

ER -