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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Air movement preferences observed in office buildings


Office workers’ preferences for air movement have been extracted from a database of indoor environmental quality surveys performed in over 200 buildings. Dissatisfaction with the amount of air motion is very common, with too little air movement cited far more commonly than too much air movement.

Workers were also surveyed in a detailed two-season study of a single naturally ventilated building. About half the building’s population wanted more air movement and only 4% wanted less. This same ratio applied when the air movement in workspaces was higher than 0.2 m/s, the de facto draft limit in the current ASHRAE and ISO thermal environment standards. Preference for “less air motion” exceeded that for “more” only at thermal sensations of -2 (cool) or colder.

These results raise questions about the consequences of the ASHRAE and ISO standards’ restrictions on air movement, especially for neutral and warm conditions.

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