Energy efficiency and user comfort in the workplace : Norwegian cellular vs. British open plan workplaces

Shahzad, Sally S. and Brennan, John and Theodossopoulos, Dimitris and Hughes, Ben and Calautit, John Kaiser (2015) Energy efficiency and user comfort in the workplace : Norwegian cellular vs. British open plan workplaces. Energy Procedia, 75. pp. 807-812. ISSN 1876-6102

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    Abstract

    Two office layouts with high and low levels of thermal control were compared, respectively Norwegian cellular and British open plan offices. The Norwegian practice provided every user with control over a window, blinds, door, and the ability to adjust heating and cooling. Occupants were expected to control their thermal environment to find their own comfort, while air conditioning was operatingin the background to ensure the indoor air quality. In contrast, in the British office, limited thermal control was provided through openable windows and blinds only for occupants seated around the perimeter of the building. Centrally operated displacement ventilation was the main thermal control system. Users' perception of thermal environment was recorded through survey questionnaires, empirical building performance through environmental measurements and thermal control through semi-structured interviews. The Norwegian office had35% higher user satisfaction and 20% higher user comfort compared to the British open plan office. However, the energy consumption in the British practice was within the benchmark and much lower than the Norwegian office. Overall, a balance between thermal comfort and energy efficiency is required, as either extreme poses difficulties for the other.