Field Study of Office Thermal Comfort Using Questionnaire Software

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TypeTechnical Report
Series titleInternal Report, Institute for Research in Construction, National Research Council Canada; Volume 708
Physical description115 p.
SubjectOpen-plan offices [cubicles]
AbstractScreenSurvey, custom software to automatically administer questionnaires on computer screens, was installed on the computers in open-plan office spaces at four sites. Five questions related to thermal comfort were presented twice per day for three months; internal and external climate data were collected simultaneously. Data from a 10 week period were recovered from 55 participants. Results indicate that this new method of subjective data collection was successful and efficient: the participants had few complaints about the method of questionnaire delivery; and a substantial literature review demonstrates that the results of our study are comparable with results from other field studies of thermal comfort conducted using different methods. Participants responded to the questionnaire 29 % of the occasions on which it could have been presented, and took an average of 45 seconds to answer the five questions. 87 % of votes were in the central three categories ('slightly cool' to 'slightly warm') of the ASHRAE thermal sensationscale, and 70 % of thermal preference votes indicated a desire for no change in temperature; we derived a neutral temperature of 22.7 ºC . Overall, the number of thermal sensation votes indicating thermal acceptability was as predicted by ANSI/ASHRAE Standard, and by the comfort theory on which this Standard was based. However, our results indicate a greater sensitivity to temperatures away from the neutraltemperature than theory predicts. Only 11 % of the variance in thermal sensation vote was explained by indoor air temperature, which rose to only 14 % when other measured physical and personal parameters were included in the regression. Differences in thermal sensation vote by age, sex, or office orientation were either not significant, or small. There were no significant differences in thermal sensation vote by week or hour, though the small changes in mean vote were in the expected direction. Around 15 % of peoplechanged their clothing in the hour prior to the questionnaire appearing, suggesting that clothing change may be an important mechanism for achieving thermal comfort.
Publication date
AffiliationNRC Institute for Research in Construction; National Research Council Canada
Peer reviewedNo
NRC number5952
NPARC number20375335
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Record identifier11d7cf0f-21d9-42c2-9b49-5096844e8022
Record created2012-07-23
Record modified2016-10-03
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