Perceived indoor environment and occupants’ comfort in European “Modern” office buildings: The OFFICAIR Study

Ioannis A. Sakellaris*, Dikaia E. Saraga, Corinne Mandin, Célina Roda, Serena Fossati, Yvonne De Kluizenaar, Paolo Carrer, Sani Dimitroulopoulou, Victor G. Mihucz, Tamás Szigeti, Otto Hänninen, Eduardo De Oliveira Fernandes, John G. Bartzis, Philomena M. Bluyssen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

125 Citations (Scopus)


Indoor environmental conditions (thermal, noise, light, and indoor air quality) may affect workers’ comfort, and consequently their health and well-being, as well as their productivity. This study aimed to assess the relations between perceived indoor environment and occupants’ comfort, and to examine the modifying effects of both personal and building characteristics. Within the framework of the European project OFFICAIR, a questionnaire survey was administered to 7441 workers in 167 “modern” office buildings in eight European countries (Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, The Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain). Occupants assessed indoor environmental quality (IEQ) using both crude IEQ items (satisfaction with thermal comfort, noise, light, and indoor air quality), and detailed items related to indoor environmental parameters (e.g., too hot/cold temperature, humid/dry air, noise inside/outside, natural/artificial light, odor) of their office environment. Ordinal logistic regression analyses were performed to assess the relations between perceived IEQ and occupants’ comfort. The highest association with occupants’ overall comfort was found for “noise”, followed by “air quality”, “light” and “thermal” satisfaction. Analysis of detailed parameters revealed that “noise inside the buildings” was highly associated with occupants’ overall comfort. “Layout of the offices” was the next parameter highly associated with overall comfort. The relations between IEQ and comfort differed by personal characteristics (gender, age, and the Effort Reward Imbalance index), and building characteristics (office type and building’s location). Workplace design should take into account both occupant and the building characteristics in order to provide healthier and more comfortable conditions to their occupants.

Original languageEnglish
Article number444
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 25 Apr 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Comfort
  • Indoor air
  • Indoor environmental quality
  • Layout
  • Light
  • Noise
  • Office buildings
  • Open-plan office spaces
  • Perception
  • Thermal comfort


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