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Targeted occupant surveys: A novel method to effectively relate occupant feedback with environmental conditions


Duarte Roa, Carlos; Schiavon, Stefano; Parkinson, Thomas (2020), Targeted occupant surveys: A novel method to effectively relate occupant feedback with environmental conditions, Dryad, Dataset,


Occupant satisfaction surveys are widely used in laboratory and field research studies of indoor environmental quality. Field studies pose several challenges because researchers usually have no control over the indoor environments experienced by building occupants, it is difficult to recruit and retain participants, and data collection methods can be cumbersome. With this in mind, we developed a survey platform that uses real-time feedback to send targeted occupant surveys (TOS) at specific indoor environmental conditions and stops sending survey requests when collected responses reach the maximum surveys required. We performed a pilot study of the TOS platform with occupants of a radiant heated and cooled building to target survey responses at 16 radiant slab surface (infrared) temperatures evenly distributed from 15 to 30 °C. We developed metrics and ideal datasets to compare the TOS platform against other occupant survey distribution methods. The results show that this novel method has a higher approximation to characteristics of an ideal dataset; 41% compared to 23%, 19%, and 12% of other datasets in previous field studies. Our TOS method minimizes the number of times occupants are surveyed and ensures a more complete and balanced dataset. This allows researchers to more efficiently and reliably collect subjective data for occupant satisfaction studies.


We recruited eight occupants from a radiant heated and cooled building to respond to a ecological momentary assessment, or "right-now" survey, for our pilot study. The right-now survey of 11-questions took about a minute, on average, to complete. We used this survey in conjunction with the targeted occupant surveys (TOS) platform that we developed to administer surveys based on specific IEQ measurements. The goal of the right-now survey was to characterize whole-body thermal comfort (thermal sensation, thermal acceptability, and thermal preference) and self-reported well-being (ability to concentrate, level of sleepiness, and perceived productivity) when subjects completed the survey. We used a continuous scale with 7-points (the ASHRAE scale: -3 - cold; 0 - neutral; +3 - hot) to evaluate subjects’ thermal sensation (ASHRAE 2017). For thermal acceptability, subjects marked their responses on a continuous scale with 7-points ranging from clearly not acceptable (-3) to just unacceptable (-0.1), and from just acceptable (+0.1) to clearly acceptable (+3); subjects were required to distinguish between acceptable and unacceptable. Subjects were asked to rate their thermal preference by selecting if they prefer to be cooler, warmer, or no change. Self-reported productivity questions used a 5-point discrete scale. We also asked subjects about their level of activity in the past 15-20 minutes, clothing ensemble, and their use of fans and windows.