Occupant comfort

Consider the use of daylight in the building, minimising glare as part of the design.

Occupants like to be in control of their environment and the design should consider providing occupant controls for heating (local thermostats), lighting (zoned switches) and ventilation (windows and local controls). Some of these aspects may conflict with the energy efficiency measures and the project team will need to make a decision on the aspect of most importance.

High frequency lights can reduce the amount of flicker and therefore potential for headaches and eye strain. These are relatively cheap to install and tend to be common practice.

It is critical in a building that the ventilation meets the needs of the occupants and this will vary depending on the function of the building. The Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) provide recommended ventilation rates for various room types.

Lighting levels are also crucial to an occupant in a building. The level required will depend on the activity taking place in each area. CIBSE provide recommended lighting levels for various room types. The lighting can be provided by natural light, artificial light or a combination of the two. In general people prefer to work in natural light and as this also has a benefit in terms of energy reduction this is the preferable option where possible.

The noise level within a building is also critical, particularly for housing or public buildings where noise can travel between rooms e.g. a GP surgery, hospital, school, terrace house / flats. The selection of materials and servicing is important when considering acoustics and should therefore be considered as part of the overall design process.

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