Browsing Department of Mechanical Engineering & the Built Environment by Subjects
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Energy efficiency and comfort in the workplace: Norwegian cellular and British open planTwo office layouts with high and low levels of thermal control were compared, respectively Norwegian cellular and British open plan offices. The Norwegian practice provided every user with control over a window, blinds, door, and the ability to adjust heating and cooling. Occupants were expected to control their thermal environment to find their own comfort, while air conditioning was operatingin the background to ensure the indoor air quality. In contrast, in the British office, limited thermal control was provided through openable windows and blinds only for occupants seated around the perimeter of the building. Centrally operated displacement ventilation was the main thermal control system. Users’ perception of thermal environment was recorded through survey questionnaires, empirical building performance through environmental measurements and thermal control through semi-structured interviews. The Norwegian office had35% higher user satisfaction and 20% higher user comfort compared to the British open plan office. However, the energy consumption in the British practice was within the benchmark and much lower than the Norwegian office. Overall, a balance between thermal comfort and energy efficiency is required, as either extreme poses difficulties for the other.
Individual thermal control in the workplace and changes in thermal preferences in a day: Norwegian cellular vs. British open plan layoutsThis research suggests that the thermal preference of occupants is subject to change; hence, a particular thermal setting may not be able to constantly satisfy everyone. On the contrary, individual thermal control in the workplace is more likely to increase user comfort and satisfaction. This is examined through environmental measurements, comfort surveys and semi-structured interviews in two office layouts with high and low thermal control. Two Norwegian cellular plan offices that provide each user with control over a window, heating and cooling are compared with two British open plan offices with limited openable windows for users seated around the perimeter of the building. Complementary quantitative and qualitative methodologies and analysis techniques are applied with a particular emphasis on grounded theory and innovative visual analysing technique. Overall rather than a setting an 'optimum temperature' in an endeavour to satisfy all, it is suggested that buildings provide a degree of flexibility to allow occupants to adjust their thermal environment according to their requirements.