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Occupant satisfaction in LEED-certified higher education buildings

Pamela-Jean N. Driza (Department of Interior Design, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA)
Nam-Kyu Park (Department of Interior Design, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA)

Smart and Sustainable Built Environment

ISSN: 2046-6099

Article publication date: 11 November 2014




The purpose of this paper is to quantify occupant satisfaction levels within Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified higher education buildings and determine the extent to which this certification helps designers to deliver successful interior environments.


A web-based adaptation of the Center for the Built Environment's (CBE) Occupant indoor environmental quality Survey was distributed within two LEED-certified higher education buildings at a public university. Occupants were then asked to participate in interviews designed to contextualize survey results and further understand issues identified by building users. Descriptive statistics and a content analysis were utilized to determine satisfaction levels in each building.


In general, LEED certification may be used as an aid for delivering successful interior environments, however, opportunities for enhancing the reliability of this tool were identified. For example, while Building A and Building B exceeded the CBE standards, neither met the 80 percent thermal comfort satisfaction rating recommended in the LEED system. Interviewees identified thermal set points, lack of thermal controls, and cold material finishes as the culprits. Based on study findings and supporting literature, suggestions are made for improving the LEED certification process and integrating post-occupancy evaluations (POEs) into the development of higher education buildings.


This study's findings may shed some light on how LEED certification and POEs aid in the production of exemplary higher education facilities. This study helps to inform sustainable practices in higher education settings and serve as a foundation for continued research in the field of sustainable design.



N. Driza, P.-J. and Park, N.-K. (2014), "Occupant satisfaction in LEED-certified higher education buildings", Smart and Sustainable Built Environment, Vol. 3 No. 3, pp. 223-236.



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