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Developing Occupant Thermal Comfort Surveys

March 17, 2015 | 0 comments

What’s the best way to know whether your building is fulfilling tenant and occupant needs, helping them be their most productive? By asking them questions. A web-based survey that collects information about your facility’s indoor environmental quality can provide valuable feedback about workplace effectiveness.

Tenant and occupant feedback can also help you make decisions about what’s working and what’s not when it comes to green building features. Are occupancy sensors functioning like they should be? Is the glare from sunlight through windows hindering productivity?

You can be as broad or as specific as you like, depending on the information you’re hoping to obtain. Consider asking questions about:

  • Thermal comfort (too hot, too cold, too drafty, too dry, etc.)
  • Air quality (does air feel clean/fresh, etc.)
  • Acoustics (noise travel, sound privacy)
  • Lighting (too bright, too dim, too much glare, etc.)
  • Spatial layout (too close to windows, too close to vents, not enough exposure to the outdoors, etc.)

You may also discover potential problems with building systems and schedules by conducting a thermal comfort survey. For example, occupants reporting odors in certain areas of the building could point to a mold problem. Or complaints about hot temperatures near windows could mean that solar heat gain is making it difficult for HVAC systems to keep interior temperatures cool enough.

In addition to asking about thermal comfort levels, ask tenants and occupants about the measures they take to improve personal comfort (using fans and space heaters, blocking vents, adjusting the thermostat, etc.). This can also help identify malfunctioning equipment (and may ultimately improve energy efficiency if you can eliminate the need for supplemental heating and cooling).

Conducting routine occupant thermal comfort surveys can also help your building achieve LEED points.

Have you created a tenant comfort survey? What questions did it include, and how did the results help your decision-making?

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