Conference Agenda

Overview and details of the sessions of this conference. Please select a date or location to show only sessions at that day or location. Please select a single session for detailed view (with abstracts and downloads if available).

Please note that all times are shown in the time zone of the conference. The current conference time is: 29th July 2021, 04:38:46am CEST

Session Overview
Session 9: Work environment
Monday, 21/June/2021:
1:00pm - 2:30pm

Session Chair: Jarek Kurnitski
Session Co-chair: Marcel Loomans
Location: Zoom room #3
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1:00pm - 1:12pm

An empirical study of occupants' evaluation of short-term combined thermal, visual, and acoustic indoor-environmental exposure

Christiane Berger, Ardeshir Mahdavi

Department of Building Physics and Building Ecology, TU Wien, Austria

Recently, more attention is being paid to human sensation and perception processes under multi-domain indoor-environmental exposure situations. Despite the existing body of research in this area, many more studies must be conducted to elevate the level of our understanding of such processes. In this paper, we present such a study. Thereby, two identical small office units are assembled within a larger laboratory space. Thermal and visual conditions can be separately controlled in these two units. Furthermore, different acoustical conditions can be emulated in the larger laboratory space that houses the two small office units. During the experiments, participants occupy these offices and are exposed to a number of different combinations of indoor-environmental (thermal, visual, and auditory) factors. A key query thereby is as follows: Are identical thermal conditions evaluated differently given interference attributable to other exposure variables (e.g., glare, noise). The paper presents the research design and the results.

1:12pm - 1:24pm

The influence of employees’ workspace satisfaction on mental health while working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic

Lisanne Bergefurt, Minou Weijs-Perrée, Rianne Appel-Meulenbroek, Theo Arentze

Eindhoven University of Technology, Netherlands, The

Previous research has, to some extent, investigated the influence of satisfaction with the workplace on employees’ mental health (i.e. mood, sleep quality, fatigue, and stress). However, insights in these relationships while working from home have been lacking. The purpose of this study is therefore to gain understanding in which personal and workspace characteristics are related to employees’ mental health. This study used a cross-sectional data collection approach and a seemingly unrelated regression analysis (SUR) to analyse the relationships. Results indicated that sleep quality, mood, stress, and fatigue are influenced by employees’ satisfaction with the workspace temperature, artificial light, and support of informal interactions while working from home. Personal characteristics (i.e. neuroticism, conscientiousness, and age) are also related to mental health. These findings could be used by workplace managers or employers to optimize their home workplace strategy.

1:24pm - 1:29pm

Interaction effects of acoustics at and between human and environmental levels: A review on the acoustics in the indoor environment

Amneh Hamida, Dadi Zhang, Philomena M. Bluyssen

Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands

People spend around 90% of their time indoors, where they are exposed to various physical stressors, such as unpleasant sounds, odours, temperature, and lighting, which may cause annoyance and discomfort. This literature review is focused on substantial studies that emphasize noise as a physical stressor in the indoor environment. Previous studies showed that background noise has a significant impact on human health. Adding to that, several other studies showed significant cross-modal effects between noise and other environmental stressors. However, various previous studies focused on quantifying the indicators of the indoor environmental quality (IEQ) factors rather than studying the differences of each occupant on their preferences and needs. Hence, this literature review highlights studies that take into account the interaction effects of acoustics at and between human and environmental levels. This review study aimed at identifying the key indicators to be taken into account for evaluating acoustical quality.

1:29pm - 1:41pm

The challenge of finding definitions for well-being and health within the built environment

Marcel Schweiker1, Rania Christoforou1, Janine Bardey1,2, Hannah Pallubinsky1

1Institute for Occupational, Social and Environmental Medicine, Medical Faculty, RWTH Aachen University, Germany; 2Heinz Trox Wissenschafts gGmbH, Aachen, Germany

While research on health and well-being is further increasing in numbers, a plethora of definitions for the terms health and well-being exists in scientific literature. These definitions are influenced by individual preferences and objectives, hence to some extent demonstrating the individuals’ view on both concepts. As such the analysis of definitions deployed is beneficial for the understanding of the key concepts influencing them.

The objective of this study is the identification and analysis of definitions of well-being and health within and beyond the field of built environment. This short paper summarizes two approaches for such analysis. Firstly, by means of a Rapid Evidence Assessment definitions used in scientific research are summarized und categorized. Secondly, through a qualitative survey among laymen, the expert definitions are contrasted with the subjective definitions of laymen.

1:41pm - 1:53pm

Impact of the indoor environmental quality on employee well-being in a LEED-certified office building

Katarína Harčárová, Silvia Vilčeková, Eva Krídlová Burdová

Technical university of Košice, Slovak Republic

This paper deals with the assessment of the indoor environmental quality (IEQ) in two selected offices of the newly built green administrative building, which has achieved the second highest level of evaluation within the international LEED certification. The assessment of the IEQ was performed through real measurements of IEQ factors and a questionnaire survey. In each office, the total measurement time was set at 24 hours. The data recorded during the 8-hour working time were evaluated separately. During working hours, five employees were present in the first office (larger in area) and two in the second. Measurements were performed under natural conditions. For comparison, 24-hour measurements were repeated in the second office but without the presence of occupants. The results of IEQ monitoring showed that the legislative and LEED limits were not exceeded in any of the offices (either within 24 hours or during working hours). Exceeding the recommended LEED limit for TVOC concentrations in the second office by 34% during 8-hour working hours was related to the presence of people in this office. The measured daylight intensities in both offices met the minimum legislative requirement. The subjective evaluation shows that the occupants of the building themselves perceive IEQ positively. Although more than 50% of respondents said they feel fatigue, lethargy and have a headache while working in the office, given previous IEQ perception results, these symptoms may be related to the type of work performed rather than IEQ. Based on the results obtained from real measurements and a questionnaire survey, it can be stated that the monitored office spaces of the selected green certified building provide a quality, healthy and comfortable indoor environment that does not significantly interfere with their work performance.

1:53pm - 1:58pm

Relationships between mental health and indoor environmental quality (IEQ) in the home workplace

Bouke Boegheim, Rianne Appel-Meulenbroek, Dujuan Yang, Marcel Loomans

Eindhoven University of Technology, the Netherlands

The understanding of mental health in the context of the physical workplace’s indoor conditions has not yet received much attention, even less related to employees that are teleworking. Therefore, this study aimed to identify potential relationships between indoor environmental quality (IEQ) conditions and workplace mental health while working from home.

Data was collected through a cross-sectional survey; repeated momentary surveys; and IEQ sensors. Participants worked full-time from home during the measuring period. Datasets were analyzed using bivariate and path analyses.

The findings indicate that both subjective experience and objective IEQ conditions, as well as workplace suitability and distraction are related to workplace mental health.

This study is one of the first to explore workplace mental health in relation to simultaneously assessed (perceived and measured) multiple IEQ parameters in the home workplace. Working from home is expected to be more common in the post-Covid world. Therefore, additional research is required.

1:58pm - 2:10pm

Comparing tangible and graphical interface of occupant voting system: Preliminary results of experimental field study in an office

Donya Sheikh Khan, Mian Breum, Jakub Kolarik

Technical University of Denmark, Denmark

Occupant voting systems (OVS) are typically applied as a tool for collecting real-time votes on how occupants perceive their thermal indoor environment. Various research studies have demonstrated how the collected occupant votes can be applied to improve current control strategies of heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) in buildings as to achieve lower energy consumption and improve occupant satisfaction. One essential part of achieving these outcomes is that occupants use the OVS frequently. Some of the research studies on OVS have demonstrated prompting to be an efficient way to remind occupants to vote frequently. However, other studies have reported cases of “survey fatigue” due to too frequent prompting. Therefore, more subtle approaches such as providing occupants with dashboards or distribution of information flyers have also been used to remind or motivate occupants to vote. But very few research studies have investigated whether the interface of OVS, specifically graphical versus tangible, have an influence on voting frequency and occupants’ motivation to vote.

The objective of the study presented in this paper was to demonstrate whether occupants cast more votes with a tangible user interface (TUI) based OVS, designed as a panel of five buttons, compared to a graphical user interface (GUI) based version of the OVS, designed as a smartphone app. The study was designed as a within-group in-field experiment conducted in an open plan office space with fourteen participants over four weeks. The research study revealed that when the participants could only vote with one of the interfaces of the OVS, they did not vote more with the TUI compared to the GUI. However, when the participants could freely choose which interface to vote with, they preferred the TUI over the GUI. Most of the participants agreed that they used the TUI because it was accessible, quicker and easier to use.

2:10pm - 2:15pm

Numerical Investigation of Human CO2 Emission in a Personalized Work Environment

Kazuki Kuga1, Mitsuharu Sakamoto1, Pawel Wargocki2, Kazuhide Ito1

1Faculty of Engineering Sciences, Kyushu University, Japan; 2International Centre for Indoor Environment and Energy, Technical University of Denmark, Denmark

INTRODUCTION: Carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration indoors is often used as an indicator of ventilation efficiency and indoor air quality in occupied buildings. The concentration is a result of outdoor CO2 level, ventilation rate with outdoor air, CO2 emission rate from occupants, and mixing of air within a space. To determine ventilation efficiency, it is important to accurately estimate the CO2 emission rate from occupants. There are mainly two experimental methods for obtaining CO2 emission rates from humans. One is monitoring CO2 concentration in an airtight or ventilated chamber where volunteers perform different physical activities; the mass balance equation is subsequently used assuming complete mixing. In the other one, the indirect calorimetry devices such as Douglas bag are used by detecting exhaled CO2. There is difference in the estimated CO2 emission rate between these two methods mainly because of the heterogeneous CO2 concentration distribution in the chamber, especially in the breathing zone.

METHOD: In this study, we developed a numerical gas exchange model between carbon dioxide and oxygen in lungs. This model was then integrated with computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model and computational simulated person (CSP) to reproduce human metabolic heat generation, CO2 emission under transient breathing cycle (inhalation and exhalation of CO2) in a small work environment (1.7m3).

RESULTS: Modelling results show heterogeneous CO2 concentration distribution even when mixing fans were installed. The differences in CO2 concentration were seen when comparing averaged volume of a space, exhaled air and inhaled air. The CO2 emission rate estimated using CO2 concentration in exhausted air as a representative CO2 level in the space is higher than the CO2 emission rate estimated from inhaled and exhaled CO2 in each breathing. Both of these estimated CO2 emission rate decreased as inhaled CO2 concentration increased confirming experimental studies on this topic. The numerical model could improve physical measurements leading to the estimation of CO2 emission rates.

2:15pm - 2:27pm

Properties of Hydrogel-Wood Composite as a New Thermochromic Glazing Material

Sai LIU, Hau Him LEE, Yuwei DU, Chi Yan TSO

City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong S.A.R. (China)

Recently, thermal-response hydrogel smart window is widely studied because of its high luminous transmittance (τlum) and high solar modulation ability (Δτsol). However, its liquid state is undesirable for window applications. Wood has strong mechanical strength and low thermal conductivity. Due to the unique features of the thermal-response hydrogel and wood, a thermochromic hydrogel wood composite (HWC) that can smartly regulate solar irradiation is proposed by impregnating a thermal-response hydrogel into delignified wood. The novel HWC demonstrates advanced optical properties (i.e. τlum = 83% and 40% at the cold transparent and hot opaque states & Δτsol = 38%) and low transition temperature (i.e. Tc = 23 oC). Moreover, the HWC is highly flexible and easily fitted into existing windows frames. Overall, the HWC with its impressive features shows great promise for energy-efficient material for smart windows in buildings.

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