Literature survey on how different factors influence human comfort in indoor environments

Monika Frontczak Corresponding, Pawel Wargocki
Building and Environment, Volume 46, Issue 4, April 2011

Abstract

The present paper shows the results of a literature survey aimed at exploring how the indoor environment in buildings affects human comfort. The survey was made to gather data that can be useful when new concepts of controlling the indoor environment are developed. The following indoor environmental conditions influencing comfort in the built environment were surveyed: thermal, visual and acoustic, as well as air quality. The literature was surveyed to determine which of these conditions were ranked by building users as being the most important determinants of comfort. The survey also examined the extent to which other factors unrelated to the indoor environment, such as individual characteristics of building occupants, building-related factors and outdoor climate including seasonal changes, influence whether the indoor environment is evaluated as comfortable or not. The results suggest that when developing systems for controlling the indoor environment, the type of building and outdoor climate, including season, should be taken into account. Providing occupants with the possibility to control the indoor environment improves thermal and visual comfort as well as satisfaction with the air quality. Thermal comfort is ranked by building occupants to be of greater importance compared with visual and acoustic comfort and good air quality. It also seems to influence to a higher degree the overall satisfaction with indoor environmental quality compared with the impact of other indoor environmental conditions.

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