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Building-Related Symptoms, Energy, and Thermal Control in the Workplace: Personal and Open Plan Offices

School of Engineering and Technology, University of Derby, Derby, DE22 3AW, UK
Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH1 1JZ, UK
Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Sheffield, Sheffield S10 2TN, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Manfred Max Bergman
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 331;
Received: 1 January 2016 / Revised: 7 March 2016 / Accepted: 17 March 2016 / Published: 6 April 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 5th World Sustainability Forum - Selected Papers)
PDF [8886 KB, uploaded 6 April 2016]


This study compared building-related symptoms in personal and open plan offices, where high and low levels of control over the thermal environment were provided, respectively. The individualized approach in Norway provided every user with a personal office, where they had control over an openable window, door, blinds, and thermostat. In contrast, the open plan case studies in the United Kingdom provided control over openable windows and blinds only for limited occupants seated around the perimeter of the building, with users seated away from the windows having no means of environmental control. Air conditioning was deployed in the Norwegian case study buildings, while displacement ventilation and natural ventilation were utilized in the British examples. Field studies of thermal comfort were applied with questionnaires, environmental measurements, and interviews. Users’ health was better in the Norwegian model (28%), while the British model was much more energy efficient (up to 10 times). The follow-up interviews confirmed the effect of lack of thermal control on users’ health. A balanced appraisal was made of energy performance and users’ health between the two buildings. View Full-Text
Keywords: building-related symptoms; thermal comfort; individual control; workplace building-related symptoms; thermal comfort; individual control; workplace

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Shahzad, S.S.; Brennan, J.; Theodossopoulos, D.; Hughes, B.; Calautit, J.K. Building-Related Symptoms, Energy, and Thermal Control in the Workplace: Personal and Open Plan Offices. Sustainability 2016, 8, 331.

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