What controls indoor climate in buildings?
Building Management/Automation Systems (BMA or BAS) control the indoor climate based on requirements (temperature, relative humidity, airflow, etc) defined in guidelines and building standards.
How do you perceive your control is based on how much you can do about it: access to thermostats, openable widnows, fans and controls and effictivity of these controls.
Another important set of factors is a person´s physiological state, his/her expectations and preferences, competences and skills. And also the knowledge of buildings and technical systems and the actual sensing of effects that are sucessful.
Personal control in buildings and technical systems!
The buildings which have operable windows and heating only with traditionally heavy to medium thermal mass are often perceived as offering sufficient control. It is important to the occupants to think that they can foresee a building´s thermal behaviour.
Open plan offices have often constraints and can reduce the availability and access to windows for occupants. Buildings with mechanical ventilation system normally provide less personal control, but the focus is on zone control.
All control opportunities which look like they could be adjusted, but in fact cannot, are likely to be perceived as a constraint.
Control or not control? That is the question!
Having more control are not necessarily always better, but it can lead to the jam paradox or paradox of choice. Generally, people enjoy control and extensive choice of controls. But this can lead to information overload and thus may result in a stressful situation. Fewer choices seem to be better perceived and are more satisfiying for occupants. So offer appropriate amount of control options to the building´s occupants!
Excerpt from article on “Personal control over indoor climate disentangled, Part 2” by Atze Boerstra and Runa Hellwig. Published at REHVA Journal, August 2018 at www.rehva.eu.