The purpose of this study was to investigate occupants' satisfaction with IEQ components of thermal, acoustic, and lighting conditions in a Buildings, Benchmarks and Beyond-State of Minnesota Sustainable Building Guidelines (B3-MSBG) compliant building through findings from a post-occupancy questionnaire and on-site readings. This study 1.) identified thermal, acoustic, and lighting conditions that significantly affected occupant satisfaction with their workspace and 2.) determined if the required IEQ standards of the B3-MSBG guidelines mandated by the State of Minnesota correlate to occupants' satisfaction.
The study examined the Science Teaching Student Services (STSS) Building located along the east bank of the Mississippi River in the heart of the UMN Minneapolis campus. Built in 2010, the five-story, 118,000 square-feet STSS Building was sustainably designed according the B3-MSBG guidelines. The building houses instructional classrooms and administrative offices that service UMN students. The areas of interest for the study are floors 2, 4, and 5, which contain both office areas and classrooms. However, only the office environments (workspaces) and the office full-time and part-time employees were studied.
Results did indicate respondents' satisfaction with overall thermal conditions (OTC) and overall acoustic condition (OAC) were significantly different than their satisfaction with the overall physical environment (OPE). The thermal conditions multiple regression model indicated that temperature, air velocity, and humidity were contributing attributes of respondents' OTC satisfaction. Furthermore, all acoustic attributes were found significant contributors to OAC satisfaction in the acoustic conditions model, except for the ability to limit distraction for undesired sounds.
The average physical readings of thermal, acoustic, and lighting conditions taken in selected workspaces did meet the B3-MSBG guidelines required standards. Although the readings did meet the required standards, some conditions of the environment were not as satisfying for occupants as others. Further analyses also indicated respondents' satisfaction levels with the conditions varied significantly between workspace types (open and closed). Interior designers must understand that designing according to sustainable guidelines does not always create a satisfying physical environment for occupants.
Furthermore, the study was considered a pilot study because only one building was investigated, the questionnaire had a small population, and therefore sample size (n=70) and the method of gathering the readings, was exploratory in nature. However, significant findings were interpreted from the data analyses and can be applied to future research designs of similar building and occupant types.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. May 2012. Major: Design, Housing and Apparel. Advisor: Denise A. Guerin, Ph.D., 1 computer file (PDF); xi, 211 pages, appendix A.
The relationship between sustainable indoor environmental quality (IEQ) and employees' satisfaction with their office environments..
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