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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Indoor environment quality in LEED buildings: Understanding conditions affecting performance


Practitioners in the building industry have wanted to better understand the connection between design strategies and occupant experience, particularly in green buildings where one of the goals is explicitly to enhance the IEQ. While there has been an underlying assumption that a LEED building will produce improved IEQ, there have been very few studies looking directly at the relationship between LEED certification and occupant satisfaction with IEQ. The objectives of this thesis are to explore:

1) To what extent do characteristics of LEED influence occupant satisfaction with IEQ?2) What contextual factors in the design, construction, and operation of buildings affect are a factor in this relationship?

For this thesis, the LEED characteristics I investigated include product, version, certification level, and IEQ credits.

In addition to using the results of the CBE IEQ Survey, I investigated these questions in terms of the design intention of LEED-certified buildings, what IEQ-related building strategies were selected, how those strategies are performing in operation of the building (i.e., after LEED certification), and how those strategies impacted occupant satisfaction. I looked specifically at IEQ categories of air quality, thermal comfort, lighting, visual comfort and satisfaction with the building overall across several versions and products of LEED.

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