Control of temperature for health and productivity in offices

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Journal Article



Indoor temperature is one of the fundamental characteristics of the indoor environment. It can be controlled with different accuracy depending on the building and its HVAC system. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the potential benefits of improved temperature control, and apply the information for a cost-benefit analyses. The indoor temperature affects several human responses, including thermal comfort, perceived air quality, sick building syndrome symptoms and performance in work. In this study we focused on the effects of temperature on performance in work. We collected and analyzed the literature relating the performance in work and temperature. The results of multiple studies are relatively consistent and show an average relationship of 2% decrement in work performance per degree oC when the temperature is above 25oC. Less data were available on the performance in low temperatures. However, studies show a strong effect on manual tasks with temperatures below thermal neutrality as soon as the temperature of hands decreased due to control of blood flow. When the estimated productivity decrement from elevated temperetures was applied to data from a study of night-time ventilative cooling, the estimated value of productivty improvements were 32 to 120 times greater than the cost of energy to run fans during the night.


ASHRAE Transactions



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