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Indoor environment and productivity in offices


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There is increasing evidence that indoor environmental conditions substantially inuence health and performance. Macro-economic estimates show that the potential benets from indoor environmental improvements for the society are high. Some calculations show that the estimated cost of poor indoor environment is higher than energy costs of heating and ventilation of the same buildings. Sample calculations have also shown that many measures to improve indoor air environment are cost-effective when the health and productivity benets, resulting from an improved indoor climate, are included into the calculations. It is also clear, based on the total cost analysis of any ofce building, that wages are the most dominant cost item of total cost (Figure 1), and that a value of small improvement in productivity pays easily back the increase in the rst cost of HVAC.

There is an obvious need to develop tools and models so that economic outcomes of health and performance can be integrated in cost benefit calculations with initial, and operation costs. The use of such models would be expected to lead to improved indoor environments, health and productivity. It is important to show to employers and building owners that investment in good indoor environment is beneficial (Figure 2). Most critical in the economic calculations is the link between the indoor environmental factors and productivity. This article presents estimates of some quantitative linkages for cost benefit calculations namely between ventilation rate and sick leave, ventilation rate and performance, perceived air quality and performance, temperature and performance, and temperature and SBS symptoms. This article is based on presentation in the TVVL seminar and publications in the list of references.

Auteur(s): prof. O.A. Seppnen

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