Perceived indoor environment and occupants’ comfort in European “modern” office buildings: The OFFICAIR study

IA Sakellaris, DE Saraga, C Mandin, Céline Roda, S Fossati, Y de Kluizenaar, P Carrer, S Dimitroulopoulou, VG Mihucz, T Szigeti, O Hänninen, E de Oliveira Fernandes, JG Bartzis, P.M. Bluyssen

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Indoor environmental conditions (thermal, noise, light, and indoor air quality) may affect
workers’ comfort, and consequently their health and well-being, as well as their productivity.
This study aimed to assess the relations between perceived indoor environment and occupants’
comfort, and to examine the modifying effects of both personal and building characteristics.
Within the framework of the European project OFFICAIR, a questionnaire survey was administered to
7441 workers in 167 “modern” office buildings in eight European countries (Finland, France, Greece,
Hungary, Italy, The Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain). Occupants assessed indoor environmental
quality (IEQ) using both crude IEQ items (satisfaction with thermal comfort, noise, light, and indoor
air quality), and detailed items related to indoor environmental parameters (e.g., too hot/cold
temperature, humid/dry air, noise inside/outside, natural/artificial light, odor) of their office
environment. Ordinal logistic regression analyses were performed to assess the relations between
perceived IEQ and occupants’ comfort. The highest association with occupants’ overall comfort was
found for “noise”, followed by “air quality”, “light” and “thermal” satisfaction. Analysis of detailed
parameters revealed that “noise inside the buildings” was highly associated with occupants’ overall
comfort. “Layout of the offices” was the next parameter highly associated with overall comfort.
The relations between IEQ and comfort differed by personal characteristics (gender, age, and the
Effort Reward Imbalance index), and building characteristics (office type and building’s location).
Workplace design should take into account both occupant and the building characteristics in order to
provide healthier and more comfortable conditions to their occupants.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 25 Apr 2016


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