A study of the impact of individual thermal control on user comfort in the workplace: Norwegian cellular vs. British open plan offices

Sally Shahzad, John Brennan, Dimitris Theodossopoulos, Ben Hughes, Calautit John

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In modern offices, user control is being replaced by centrally operated thermal systems, and in Scandinavia, personal offices by open plan layouts. This study examined the impact of user control on thermal comfort and satisfaction. It compared a workplace, which was designed entirely based on individual control over the thermal environment, to an environment that limited thermal control was provided as a secondary option for fine-tuning: Norwegian cellular and British open plan offices. The Norwegian approach provided each user with control over a window, door, blinds, heating and cooling as the main thermal control system. In contrast, the British practice provided a uniform thermal environment with limited openable windows and blinds to refine the thermal environment for occupants seated around the perimeter of the building. Field studies of thermal comfort were applied to measure users’ perception of thermal environment, empirical building performance and thermal control. The results showed a 30% higher satisfaction and 18% higher comfort level in the Norwegian offices compared to the British practices. However, the energy consump- tion of the Norwegian case studies was much higher compared to the British ones. A balance is required between energy efficiency and user thermal comfort in the workplace.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-61
Number of pages13
JournalArchitectural Science Review
Volume60
Issue number6
Early online date26 Oct 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2017

Keywords

  • office
  • environment
  • performance
  • energy
  • controls

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