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Assessment of Indoor Environment Assignment

The factors that can determine comfort, are, measured singularly yet will work in combination. Thus giving us our indoor micro climate.

An indoor climate is heavily influenced by the outdoor climate, and the combination of these factors determines what a humans judgement may be.

Many scientists, rely on systematic analysis of thermal sensations. Yet in some ways one can obtain suitable judgement in public places, of getting experimental subjects to express their perception of the thermal environment, on a suitable scale while an experimenter measures their actual thermal environment.

Light Environment

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Light, besides being indispensable for visual perception of the surrounding space for where work and leisure, also regulates metabolic and immuniological processes in the human body.

Many artificial light sources do not produce the same photochemical responses in man as natural daylight. New layout concepts for relatively new buildings, produce deep rooms with low ceilings, (similar to that of the two canteens, ‘Mezzanine’ and ‘Mithras House’), yet require artificial lighting to be on all day.

Illuminance is the quotient of the luminous flux incident on an element of the surface containing a point by the area of that element. Luminance is the flux of light energy emerging in a small solid angle in given direction form a small element of an area on the surface per unit apparent area per unit solid angle.

Noise Environment

In general it is believed that most noise to buildings comes from the ambient external environment.

Noises can be divided into constant and variable noises. Constant noises can be pumping, ventilation, kitchen machinery, or any thing that will be constantly working.

To evaluate noise one must understand the character of the noise to be assessed. I.e. constant/variable. Acoustical Standardisation Internationally is the responsibility of the International Standards Organisation.

In modern buildings about 30 types of noise generating equipment has been identified, producing levels of 45-60DbA. It can be higher in cases where very low sound dampening materials have been used in the structure.

Indoor Air Quality

Air is influenced by quality of indoor air pollutants and quality of outdoor air coming in. This can be screened, filtered or washed. Some volatile and particulate pollutants are emitted form the occupants themselves, others may originate from tobacco, combustion products from cooking, heating, lighting gaseous and particulate compounds from building materials and decorations, furnishings, aerosol sprays, insecticides, pesticides, nucleotides such as radon, live and dead micro-organisms and decay products from low organisms e.g. moulds and fungi.

The concentration Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) depends on ventilation rate of air changes.

Indoors combustion systems used for cooking and heating are frequently the cause of severe indoor pollution. The principle fuels used are wood, charcoal, coal and coke, natural gas, propane and kerosene (although of today electric use is more popular). An important basic distinction can be made between flued systems and unflued systems however. On health grounds, a very strong preference must be expressed for flued systems. The combustion products are monoxide, carbon dioxide, formaldehyde, and smoke, the constituents of which will depend on the nature of the fuel, and the conditions of the combustion (NRC, 1981).

Part One. Subjective Assessment and Comparisons

The initial research that I carried out showed me that in each of the four areas to be examined, i.e. Thermal comfort, visual and acoustic comfort as well as the air quality within the space, a respected measurement of these criteria’s is by an occupant’s perception.

Therefore to do this myself I chose to record my perceptions of two different canteens, to form a comparison, and also to visit the sites at known busy periods and at known quiet periods. Thus, to gain an understanding of the environments, when being used for their purpose. Further to this, I felt it suitable to do assessments at North, South, East and West sides of the canteens, thus to gain an understanding of the effect from windows, air conditioning units, density of occupants, cooking or food preparation areas and exits.

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