User problems with individual temperature control in offices

Sami Karjalainen, Olavi Koistinen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

68 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

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
Volume42
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2007
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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Temperature control
temperature
Office buildings
building
User interfaces
Productivity
Hot Temperature
office
Health
user interface
productivity
health
Temperature

Keywords

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

Cite this

Karjalainen, Sami ; Koistinen, Olavi. / User problems with individual temperature control in offices. In: Building and Environment. 2007 ; Vol. 42, No. 8. pp. 2880-2887.
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User problems with individual temperature control in offices. / Karjalainen, Sami; Koistinen, Olavi.

In: Building and Environment, Vol. 42, No. 8, 2007, p. 2880-2887.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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AB - 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.

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