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refers to the quality of a buildings environment in relation to

the health and wellbeing of those who occupy space within it.


People spend about 8090% of their time indoors and studies have
indicated that a range of comfort and health related effects are
linked to characteristics of the building.

(ASHRAE guidelines)

Go to work...

And go to school

If for any reason the built environment is leading to sickness or

negative impact on occupant health then it is a matter of concern
and could point to some design or technical flaw in the building
system. (De Giuli et al., 2012).


Indoor Air Quality

Thermal Comfort

Acoustic Comfort

Visual Comfort



refers to the air quality within and around buildings and structures.

Two strategies in building design that are employed to deal

with Indoor Air Quality in the building

Increase ventilation rate

Reduce the source of

pollution within and
outside the building in
order to reduce the
introduction of pollutants
in the indoor air

Increase ventilation rate

Ventilation is an intentional introduction of outside air into a


It varies because of:

nature and operation of indoor activities of occupants;

toxicity and rate of generation of hazardous substances;

degree of expected occupancy ; and

and building designs.

Two kinds of ventilation systems


wind driven ventilation

and stack ventilation


Natural Ventilation System

is the process of supplying air to and removing air from an

indoor space without using mechanical systems. It refers to the
flow of external air to an indoor space as a result of pressure
differences arising from natural forces.

When carefully designed, natural ventilation can reduce

building construction costs and operation costs and An
additional bonus is that no longer reduce the energy
consumption for air-conditioning and circulating fans. will any
noisy fan be of your concern.

Types of Natural Ventilation

Wind Driven Ventilation

Stack Ventilation

BOTH of which are caused by naturally occurring pressure


Pressure differences that cause WIND DRIVEN VENTILATION uses

the natural forces of the wind where as STACK VENTILATION is
caused by pressures generated by buoyancy as a result in the
differences in temperature and humidity

Process of Wind-Driven Ventilation

To capture wind and bring ventilation into the building, the

following factors should be considered:

Building orientation and location

(Choose a location with a lot of wind.)

Building form and dimensions

(Naturally ventilated buildings should not be too deep)

Window typologies and operations

(Locate windows so as to effect the best movement of air across the

room and within the level that occupants sit and stand.

Cross Ventilation

Stack Ventilation

For stack ventilation to work properly there must be a temperature

difference. As the warm air (usually given off by the occupants and
their computers), which is less dense, in the building rises, the cooler
air is sucked from the openings below


Ventilation System
uses fans to drive the flow of outside air into a building. This may
be accomplished by pressurization (in the case of positively
pressurized buildings), or by depressurization (in the case of
exhaust ventilation systems). Many mechanically ventilated
buildings use a combination of both, with the ventilation being
integrated into the HVAC system.

Mechanically ventilated buildings generally have a filtering

mechanism before outdoor air enters the building.

Reducing the source of pollution within and outside the building
in order to reduce the introduction of pollutants in the indoor air

The rate at which outdoor air is supplied should be proportional to

the pollutants within the building. The amount of pollutants inside the
building will vary depending on the load and number of occupants.
Therefore, the building needs to have a mechanism to accurately
assess the indoor pollutants and vary the rate of introducing outdoor
air accordingly. (Wargocki et al., 1999).

Common sources of indoor pollutants:

People smoking tobacco inside the building or near building

entrances or air uptakes

Building materials such as paints, coatings, adhesives, sealants, and

furniture that may emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs),
substances that vaporize at room temperature and can cause
health problems

Combustion processes in fireplaces and stoves, and vehicles in

garages or near entrances

Mold resulting from moisture in building materials

Cleaning materials

Radon or methane off-gassing from the soil underneath the building

Pollutants from specific processes used in laboratories, hospitals, and

Pollutants tracked in on occupants shoes

Occupants respiration, which increases carbon dioxide levels and

may introduce germs

Sick-Building Syndrome

group of health problems that are caused by the indoor

environment such as an office building or a dwelling


Closure of natural openings,

Use of new construction material which are not properly tested

and certified

Type of furniture and office equipment (printer, personal

computer )

Uncomfortable temperature and humidity, chemical and

biological pollution, physical condition, and psychosocial status

(Assimakopoulos and Helmis, 2004 and Bak-Bir et al., 2004)


irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, headache, cough, wheezing,

cognitive disturbances, depression, light sensitivity, gastrointestinal
distress and other flu like symptoms

SBS leads to an increase in self-reported illness absences and

reduced productivity in offices (Wargocki et al., 2000, Brightman,
2005 and Singh, 1996).

There are several studies which conclude that SBS leads to a rise in
hospital visits especially for female occupants of mechanically
ventilated and air conditioned buildings compared to occupants of
naturally ventilated buildings

Ways on how to achieve indoor air quality

Building Cleanliness/ Green Cleaning

Flush Out

Entryway Systems

ETS (Environmental Tobacco Smoke) Control

MERV-rated Filter

Integrated Pest Management

Use strictly according to manufacturer's directions. Mix or dilute

outdoors. Apply only in recommended quantities. Increase
ventilation when using indoors. Do not store unneeded pesticides
inside home. Keep indoor spaces clean, dry and well ventilated to
avoid pest and odor problems.

Landscaping and putting plants


Indoor Air Quality

Thermal Comfort

Acoustic Comfort

Visual Comfort


defined as the state of mind that expresses satisfaction with

the thermal environment in which it is located. (Standard,
ASHRAE 55 (2010) and Standard, ISO 7730 (1994))

is probably the most important and easily defined parameter of


For occupants to produce to their full capability, their work

space needs to be thermally comfortable

Factors that influence thermal comfort

However, thermal comfort is based on thermal adaptation of
individual occupant which is correlated to factors such as:

geographic location and climate, time of year, gender, race, and


Methods to measure thermal comfort

based on ASHRAE Standard 55


ASHRAE (formerly, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating,

and Air-Conditioning Engineers) is the governing body which creates
and releases the standards regarding indoor air quality, thermal
comfort, and energy efficiency.


The survey shall be distributed to the entire occupancy or

representative part of the occupancy. The standard suggests that if
the surveys were distributed to more than 45 occupants, the
response rate must exceed 35%. If that number is between 20 and
45, the minimum number of responses is 15. When the number is
under 20, at least 16 must reply for the survey to make the survey

For satisfaction surveys, the thermal satisfaction scale shall end with
choices: "very satisfied" and "very dissatisfied", and, also, the
occupants should be allowed to explain their dissatisfaction by
answering an open-ended question


The measurement locations should be where the occupants are

expected to spend time in. If there are multiple such locations, the
measurement can be performed at a representative location. In
cases that the optimal representative location cannot be found, the
standard suggests specific locations in the space.


Ergonomics Workplaces

designed to facilitate work while minimizing stress and strain on the

body. They also accommodate user preferences and comfort. They
include height-adjustable desks that can be easily moved around
on casters, fully adjustable chairs, monitor arms, keyboard trays,
footrests and document holders.


Tinted glass and glass with a reflective coating are glazing

alternatives that reduce heat gain.

Thermal Insulation

HVAC System

Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) is the technology of

indoor and vehicular environmental comfort

important part of residential structures, medium to large industrial

and office and in marine environments, where safe and healthy
building conditions are regulated with respect to temperature and
humidity, using fresh air from outdoors.


Indoor Air Quality

Thermal Comfort

Acoustic Comfort

Visual Comfort


capacity to protect occupants from noise and offer an acoustic

environment suitable for the purpose the building is designed for.

Despite being recognized as an important parameter, research

indicates that acoustic comfort is not considered high priority in
building design leading to several post occupancy productivity
related issues (Andersen et al., 2009 and Anderson, 2008).

Categories of acoustic problems

Annoyance from various noises

Acoustic problems emanate from airborne sounds, outdoor noise,

noise from adjacent spaces, noise from office equipment and sound
of nearby facilities

Lack of communication privacy

Noise from other people talking, telephones ringing, and other

irregular sounds may create more annoyance and disturbance
compared to the more continuous regular sounds

The three strategies for noise prevention are:

(a) absorption of sound using ceiling tile

(b) blocking of sound using workstation panels and workspace


(c)covering up of sound using electronic sound masking


However, with all these techniques one has to achieve an optimal

balance. For example noise masking can actually be so loud that
occupants might have to speak louder than usual to be heard. This
will lead to annoyance for everyone around them.

Green building guidelines have started including acoustic comfort as

one of the criteria but the overall priority for this is low.


Indoor Air Quality

Thermal Comfort
Acoustic Comfort

Visual Comfort

Visual Comfort


defined as lighting conditions and the views from ones


(Leech et al., 2002 and Serghides et al., 2015).

Ways on how to achieve visual comfort


Artificial Lighting

Architectural lighting design


uses natural daylight as a substitute for electrical lighting.

the best proven strategy is to employ layers of light - using

daylight for basic ambient light levels while providing
occupants with additional lighting options to meet their needs.

Locate private offices toward the core of the space and specify low
workstation panels. Use glass walls and light-colored surfaces on
walls and desks to disperse daylight throughout the space.

In all daylighting strategies, it is important to consider glare and to

take steps to minimize it.

Artificial Lighting

use of both artificial light sources like lamps and light fixtures

Architectural lighting design

Artificial lighting takes into account the amount of daylight received

in an internal space by using daylight factor calculation.
In some design instances, materials used on walls and furniture play
a key role in the lighting effects for example dark paint tends to
absorb light, making the room appear smaller and more dim than it
is, whereas light paint does the opposite. In addition to paint,
reflective surfaces also have an effect on lighting design

Lighting without windows: The Pantheon in the 18th century,

painted by Giovanni Paolo Panini


Persons/Workers Productivity

Affects peoples health

Makes business progressive/ marketability

Helps reduce legal liability


Given that we spend more than 90% of our life indoors, it is

important to understand the concept of Indoor Environmental
Quality and act accordingly on it.

Green building designs dont automatically guarantee that the

building designed will be comfortable and ensure occupant
well-being. More specific and in-depth considerations on
occupant well-being is required along with the impact on
building efficiency and sustainability. Just designing a
potentially comfortable building is not enough. One also needs
to monitor building and occupant performance during its