Development and Field-Testing of a Study Protocol, including a Web-Based Occupant Survey Tool, for Use in Intervention Studies of Indoor Environmental Quality
We developed and pilot-tested an overall protocol for intervention studies to evaluate the effects of indoor environmental changes in office buildings on the health symptoms and comfort of occupants. The protocol includes a web-based survey to assess the occupant's responses, as well as specific features of study design and analysis. The pilot study, carried out on two similar floors in a single building, compared two types of ventilation system filter media. With support from the building's Facilities staff, the implementation of the filter change intervention went well. While the web-based survey tool worked well also, low overall response rates (21-34percent among the three work groups included) limited our ability to evaluate the filter intervention., The total number of questionnaires returned was low even though we extended the study from eight to ten weeks. Because another simultaneous study we conducted elsewhere using the same survey had a high response rate (>70percent), we conclude that the low response here resulted from issues specific to this pilot, including unexpected restrictions by some employing agencies on communication with occupants.