Indoor Environment and User Perception. A Field Study in a Hospital Ward
Licentiate thesis, 2004
The research on indoor environment has become more important and extensive the last decades. There is, however, a lack of studies made in buildings with two or more distinct groups of people. This study deals with hospital wards, which are a prime example of buildings occupied by more than one homogenous group of people.
Many variables affect the human being when perceiving the indoor environment. The most common are physical environmental variables, physiological variables and behavioural variables. The physical environmental variables are relatively easy to measure. The difficulties are to translate the measured values into satisfactory indices. One way of doing this is, as in this study, to combine thermal measurements and indoor environment questionnaires.
The thesis consists of a literature survey and two field studies. The outline of the survey is presented in the thesis and in Paper I. The field studies were performed in a Swedish hospital during both summer and winter conditions. Objective measurements and questionnaires were used simultaneously in order to get a clearer picture of how the two groups (staff and patients) perceive the indoor environment.
The results show that this type of study is a suitable instrument to be used in hospital environment as well as in offices. The predicted optimal operative temperature for staff and patients differ according to their clothing and level of activity. Despite this, both staff and patients are satisfied with the thermal indoor climate. However, the perception of air humidity is as low in the summer study as in the winter study, even though the relative air humidity is considerably lower in the winter. Despite the similarities, staff and patients cannot be treated as, and assumed to be, one coherent group with same needs. This is mainly due to their different conditions (medicine, level of activity, clothing etc.)
This study highlights the need to increase the demands on and recommendations for indoor environment in buildings with several distinct groups of users, such as hospital wards. The results of studies suggests that future recommendations and demands on indoor environment in hospital wards more clearly should recognise the differing needs of both staff and patients
indoor air quality