Human subjects’ perception of indoor environment and their office work performance during exposures to moderate operative temperature ramps

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Abstract

The objective of the presented research work was to study the effects of moderate operative temperature drifts on human thermal comfort, perceived air quality, intensity of SBS symptoms and office work performance. Experimental subjects (52, 50% female) were seated in a climatic chamber and exposed to operative temperature ramps (±0.6 K/h, ±1.2 K/h, +2.4 K/h, +4.8 K/h) of different direction and duration. The studied temperature ranges were 22-26.8ºC (light clothing - 0.5 clo) and 17.8-25ºC (heavier clothing - 0.7 clo). Exposure to steady temperatures (24.4, 21.4ºC) corresponding to a neutral thermal sensation was also included. Subjects filled out questionnaires regarding perception of the environment and intensity of SBS symptoms. Subjects performed simulated office tasks (addition, text typing, proof reading, comprehension and reasoning). Results showed that all tested ramps were recognized by sedentary subjects when the exposure time exceeded four hours. No significant effect on SBS symptoms related to local irritation of mucous membranes was found, while intensity of headache, well feeling and concentration ability was significantly higher at the end of the exposure to the temperature ramps. A linear relation between perceived air quality and temperature (enthalpy) was found. No significant consistent effect of individual temperature ramps on office work performance was found. Increasing operative temperature appeared to slightly decrease speed of addition and text typing regardless the slope of the ramp, when compared to constant temperature condition. With respect to mentioned results it can be recommended to avoid ramp with slopes equal or above 1.1ºC/0.25h. Spaces where temperature ramps occur should be properly ventilated to avoid further increase of SBS symptoms caused by aggravation of perceived air quality. Increasing temperature may negatively influence speed of simple, repetitive tasks of mental work. The significant effect on complex tasks that require concentration, vigilance and logical thinking was not found.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of Indoor Air 2008
Publication date2008
Pages429
ISBN (Print)97-88-77877270-1
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Event11th International Conference on Indoor Air Quality and Climate - Copenhagen, Denmark
Duration: 17 Aug 200822 Aug 2008
Conference number: 11
http://www.indoorair2008.org/

Conference

Conference11th International Conference on Indoor Air Quality and Climate
Number11
CountryDenmark
CityCopenhagen
Period17/08/200822/08/2008
Internet address

Keywords

  • Office work performance
  • Thermal comfort
  • Temperature ramp

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