Testing perceived barriers to adoption of naturally ventilated and mixed mode buildings.

Status: Completed

Funding Sources: CBE Industry Consortium

Project Objective

This study investigated occupant satisfaction in office buildings with operable windows, specifically their satisfaction with the amount of outdoor noise in urban environments.

Significance to Industry

Buildings with operable windows can provide improved thermal comfort and control opportunities for users. Concerns about outdoor noise (such as traffic or construction noise) is often cited as a barrier to the installation or retrofit of operable windows in buildings.

Research Approach

We examined 23,000 office building occupants’ perspectives on noise from both sealed and naturally ventilated/mixed-mode buildings. Using the CBE Occupant Survey, respondents were asked about seven IEQ areas including noise and acoustics. If they indicated dissatisfaction with noise, they were asked follow-up questions regarding the source of their discontent. Examples of displeasure include people talking on the phone, office equipment noise, mechanical noise, outdoor traffic noise, or respondents can fill in the source of their acoustical dissatisfaction.
Results suggested that occupants near operable windows are more satisfied than those near sealed windows or those far from either window type. Among occupants dissatisfied with noise, complaints about indoor noise sources, such as people talking, are about ten times more prevalent than outdoor noise complaints.

Publications and Reports

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