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Assessing indoor environmental quality and occupant comfort in modern wood buildings with post-occupancy evaluation and building performance simulation

Taipale, Henriikka LU (2021) AEBM01 20211
Energy and Building Design
Department of Architecture and Built Environment
Abstract
The European building sector is a source of significant negative environmental impacts, and large part of its carbon emissions can be attributed to heating, cooling and lighting of buildings – in other words, regulating buildings’ indoor environments. As people spend most of their lives indoors, there is a great challenge to create comfortable indoor environments, while also striving for further energy-efficiency and lower environmental impact. There is a growing interest in natural and renewable building materials such as wood that can address these challenges, while simultaneously substituting other, more harmful materials.

This study investigates the attributes affecting indoor environmental quality in multi-story wood buildings and... (More)
The European building sector is a source of significant negative environmental impacts, and large part of its carbon emissions can be attributed to heating, cooling and lighting of buildings – in other words, regulating buildings’ indoor environments. As people spend most of their lives indoors, there is a great challenge to create comfortable indoor environments, while also striving for further energy-efficiency and lower environmental impact. There is a growing interest in natural and renewable building materials such as wood that can address these challenges, while simultaneously substituting other, more harmful materials.

This study investigates the attributes affecting indoor environmental quality in multi-story wood buildings and evaluates the performance of a case study building in Aarhus, Denmark. The parameters included in the study are thermal comfort, indoor air quality, acoustic performance and daylight availability. These indoor environmental conditions are assessed on the basis of a post-occupancy evaluation survey, simulated building performance data and recorded measurements. Based on the findings, suitable methods for predicting and evaluating indoor environmental performance in the design phase for future wood buildings are identified, and the usability of the occupant survey is reviewed.

The post-occupancy evaluation generated valuable insight into the subjective perceptions of the occupants, and pinpointed problem areas on different levels. The building performance simulations accurately predicted the thermal discomfort experienced by the occupants, and should be incorporated into early design stages of future projects to help mitigate issues. The demand for better occupant control over indoor conditions, as well as opportunities for design optimization within acoustic and daylight performance were identified. Analyzing the diurnal latent heat and moisture flux of the wood surfaces is proposed as future work on the subject. (Less)
Popular Abstract
Buildings and the construction sector are some of the biggest climate culprits on the planet. Bio-based materials like wood are breaking through to the industry, aspiring to solve some of the pressing issues.

In modern wood buildings, performance issues related to indoor climate and occupant comfort can be predicted and mitigated with building performance simulations and calculations in the design phase. Generating predictive performance data on for instance temperature conditions and daylight availability is highly recommended early on in any design process to make data-driven decisions at the right time. Post-occupancy evaluation is an effective method to identify how people perceive the indoor environment of a modern wood building,... (More)
Buildings and the construction sector are some of the biggest climate culprits on the planet. Bio-based materials like wood are breaking through to the industry, aspiring to solve some of the pressing issues.

In modern wood buildings, performance issues related to indoor climate and occupant comfort can be predicted and mitigated with building performance simulations and calculations in the design phase. Generating predictive performance data on for instance temperature conditions and daylight availability is highly recommended early on in any design process to make data-driven decisions at the right time. Post-occupancy evaluation is an effective method to identify how people perceive the indoor environment of a modern wood building, and what can be improved for future buildings.

With the increased use of wood in construction, problems related to the indoor environment have been identified. Examples include overheating during the summer season, and noise traveling between apartment units, causing discomfort to the building occupants. Understanding the combined effect of the building’s technical performance, climate change and the building occupants’ perceptions is key in designing and building healthy and comfortable indoor spaces.

In this degree project, the various properties affecting the indoor environment and occupant comfort in modern wood buildings were studied. The impact of the thermal, atmospheric, acoustic and daylight conditions on a wooden multi-story building in Denmark were evaluated. To do this, a post-occupancy evaluation survey was developed and carried out, and analyzed against building performance simulations to understand whether the building performs as intended.

The resulting methodology proved effective in achieving insights on the building performance and the occupants’ perceptions. The post-occupancy evaluation as well as the simulations and calculations introduced in the study are transferable to other investigations of indoor environmental quality in multi-story wood buildings. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
@misc{9051601,
  abstract     = {{The European building sector is a source of significant negative environmental impacts, and large part of its carbon emissions can be attributed to heating, cooling and lighting of buildings – in other words, regulating buildings’ indoor environments. As people spend most of their lives indoors, there is a great challenge to create comfortable indoor environments, while also striving for further energy-efficiency and lower environmental impact. There is a growing interest in natural and renewable building materials such as wood that can address these challenges, while simultaneously substituting other, more harmful materials.

This study investigates the attributes affecting indoor environmental quality in multi-story wood buildings and evaluates the performance of a case study building in Aarhus, Denmark. The parameters included in the study are thermal comfort, indoor air quality, acoustic performance and daylight availability. These indoor environmental conditions are assessed on the basis of a post-occupancy evaluation survey, simulated building performance data and recorded measurements. Based on the findings, suitable methods for predicting and evaluating indoor environmental performance in the design phase for future wood buildings are identified, and the usability of the occupant survey is reviewed.

The post-occupancy evaluation generated valuable insight into the subjective perceptions of the occupants, and pinpointed problem areas on different levels. The building performance simulations accurately predicted the thermal discomfort experienced by the occupants, and should be incorporated into early design stages of future projects to help mitigate issues. The demand for better occupant control over indoor conditions, as well as opportunities for design optimization within acoustic and daylight performance were identified. Analyzing the diurnal latent heat and moisture flux of the wood surfaces is proposed as future work on the subject.}},
  author       = {{Taipale, Henriikka}},
  language     = {{eng}},
  note         = {{Student Paper}},
  title        = {{Assessing indoor environmental quality and occupant comfort in modern wood buildings with post-occupancy evaluation and building performance simulation}},
  year         = {{2021}},
}