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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Listening to the occupants: a web-based indoor environmental quality survey


Building occupants are a rich source of information about indoor environmental quality and its effect on comfort and productivity. The Center for the Built Environment has developed a Web-based survey and accompanying online reporting tools to quickly and inexpensively gather, process and present this information. The core questions assess occupant satisfaction with the following IEQ areas: office layout, office furnishings, thermal comfort, indoor air quality, lighting, acoustics, and building cleanliness and maintenance. The survey can be used to assess the performance of a building, identify areas needing improvement, and provide useful feedback to designers and operators about specific aspects of building design features and operating strategies. The survey has been extensively tested and refined and has been conducted in more than 70 buildings, creating a rapidly growing database of standardized survey data that is used for benchmarking. We present three case studies that demonstrate different applications of the survey: a pre/post analysis of occupants moving to a new building, a survey used in conjunction with physical measurements to determine how environmental factors affect occupants’ perceived comfort and productivity levels, and a benchmarking example of using the survey to establish how new buildings are meeting a client’s design objectives.

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