User problems with individual temperature control in offices

Sami Karjalainen, Olavi Koistinen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    101 Citations (Scopus)


    Individual thermal control is important for handling personal differences in thermal preference.
    Several studies have shown that comfort, health and productivity in offices can be improved by individual thermal control. Local controls for temperature are commonly available in modern office buildings. However, office occupants are often still dissatisfied with the thermal environment and their control options.
    In this study we used contextual techniques to gain an understanding of the user problems with individual temperature control. A total of 27 office occupants in 13 Finnish buildings were interviewed in their offices.
    They were asked to show and tell us how they use the controls.
    The results show that the temperature controls were often not used in thermal discomfort. A diversity of problems with individual temperature control was identified and are listed with proposed solutions.
    The main reason for the many of the problems is that systems are planned and constructed without a realistic view of their users, and end users are presumed to have knowledge they don’t have.
    The users should be studied and more effort should be put into user interface development.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2880-2887
    JournalBuilding and Environment
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - 2007
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • thermal comfort
    • individual control
    • office
    • user interface
    • usability
    • thermostat
    • indoor climate


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