Quantitative measurement of productivity loss due to thermal discomfort

Li Lan, Pawel Wargocki, Zhiwei Lian

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The effects on human performance of elevated temperature causing thermal discomfort were investigated. Recruited subjects performed neurobehavioural tests examining different component skills, and addition and typing tasks that were used to replicate office work. The results show that thermal discomfort caused by elevated air temperature had a negative effect on performance. A quantitative relationship was established between thermal sensation votes and task performance. It can be used for economic calculations pertaining to building design and operation when occupant productivity is considered. The relationship indicates that optimum performance can be achieved slightly below neutral, while thermal discomfort (feeling too warm or too cold) leads to reduced performance. Consequently, it makes sense to set the PMV limits in workplaces in the range between −0.5 and 0 instead of between −0.5 and 0.5 as stipulated in the present standards.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnergy and Buildings
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)1057-1062
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • Measurement
  • Thermal discomfort
  • Thermal sensation votes
  • Productivity


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