This paper aims to investigate the thermal comfort practices in four non-domestic buildings and explores how the organisational context affects the actions and practices of occupants and facilities managers.
The study applied qualitative methods and post-occupancy evaluation methodologies to investigate the thermal practices in four case studies. A combination of qualitative and quantitative methodologies was deployed, namely, semi-structured interviews, questionnaires, observation and monitoring studies of building performance.
The concept “distributed agency” was applied to analyse the thermal comfort practices in non-domestic buildings. This concept helped to illustrate everyday actions by occupants and facilities managers in relation to the organisational context. Occupants’ actions and building management practices could be affected by the organisation norms and context leading to problems and dissatisfaction with indoor thermal conditions.
This study is based on a small number of case studies and it is exploratory. Extensive monitoring data were not available. However, the research identified the thermal conditions and occupants’ satisfaction levels as background where actions to achieve thermal comfort and facilities manager’s practices took place.
The study suggests the need to examine in greater depth how the organisational goals and individual goals could be linked to support specific building performance targets.
The paper advocates for the application of multidisciplinary approaches to study the occupant dimension of building performance. It suggests the need to develop a nuanced understanding of how occupants pursue comfort as active agents who interact with the built environment.
The study has applied social practice theory to consider the influence of the organisation on thermal comfort practices in non-domestic buildings; considering the perspectives of building occupants and facilities managements within the organisational context.
This research was funded through a building research establishment research grant, in collaboration with the building research establishment. This paper is an extended version of a paper presented at the passive and low energy architecture conference 2017. The author thanks the research participants for their support and the reviewers for their comments.
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