Schools-2009 IEQc7.2: Thermal Comfort—Verification

  • Schools_IEQc7-2_Type3_ThermalComfortVerification Diagram
  • An easy credit, if the owner is on board

    This credit requires surveying building occupants to find out if they are satisfied with thermal conditions in the building, as defined by the thermal comfort variables defined in ASHRAE 55-2004. The credit costs little or nothing to implement (although it does take some time), and provides important feedback to building owners and operators. 

    Do it yourself, or get help

    If you have the internal staff resources and don’t want to pay for an outside service, you can go with a simple self-administered online survey.

    If you want some hand-holding, can afford the (relatively low) fee, and are interested in a more comprehensive occupant survey (beyond just thermal performance) that gives you results in the context of a large dataset, use the service from UC Berkeley’s Center for the Built Environment or something similar.

    Some owners may have reservations about surveying occupants because they’re worried about getting poor results. Doing the survey through a third-party service that specializes in post-occupancy evaluations can help with that fear by returning individual building results in the context of results from many other buildings. If the survey turns up some weak areas, you’re likely to be in good company! 

    Corrective action

    In schools, students in grades 6 and above have to be surveyed along with the adults. 

    Develop a plan for corrective action in case more than 20% of respondents report dissatisfaction with thermal comfort. It is up to the owner and operations staff to determine how to implement the plan. For example, if occupants indicate that they are uncomfortable, the HVAC system is inspected and tested and there are no faults found with the HVAC system, technically you’ve done what’s required. (Although, it is a good practice to make operating adjustments until your occupants are reasonably comfortable!)

    In general, implementing the plan is something that usually happens after the project is already certified. You have to do something to honor your commitment, but how farFloor-area ratio is the density of nonresidential land use, exclusive of parking, measured as the total nonresidential building floor area divided by the total buildable land area available for nonresidential structures. For example, on a site with 10,000 square feet (930 square meters) of buildable land area, an FAR of 1.0 would be 10,000 square feet (930 square meters) of building floor area. On the same site, an FAR of 1.5 would be 15,000 square feet (1395 square meters), an FAR of 2.0 would be 20,000 square feet (1860 square meters), and an FAR of 0.5 would be 5,000 square feet (465 square meters). you go is up to you.

    Submit the documentation early if you can

    You don’t gain anything by waiting to submit for this credit until the construction submittal, but if you want to wait and see whether you’ll need the point before committing to it, you can. (Whether or not you pursue the credit, surveying occupants about their satisfaction is a good practice.)

    The owner is the required signatory for this credit and has to verify that that the survey will be performed, along with a plan for corrective action.

    Implementation of the occupant survey is the most difficult part of this credit. The occupant survey is to be implemented after six months of occupancy at the earliest. This credit is largely based on the honor system. There is no enforcement mechanism in place to confirm that the credit will be implemented after 6 months of occupancy or that the plan of corrective action be administered if 20% of survey respondents are dissatisfied with system performance, but the owner’s organizational integrity is at stake if they fail to live up to their commitments.

    FAQs for IEQc7.2

    How should international projects comply with this credit?

    A guidance document has been developed by USGBC that provides international alternative compliance paths (referencing local standards) and additional LEED Online credit forms for international projects.

    What is required for the permanent monitoring system? 

    USGBC has not made clear the exact requirements for a permanent monitoring system. One contributing approach, however, is to administer a survey, as this is often easy and cheap to implement. Additional approaches could be a building automation system if sensor locations are adequately distributed throughout occupied spacesEnclosed space intended for human activities, excluding those spaces that are intended primarily for other purposes, such as storage rooms and equipment rooms, and that are only occupied occasionally and for short periods of time. Occupied spaces are further classified as regularly occupied or nonregularly occupied spaces based on the duration of the occupancy, individual or multioccupant based on the quantity of occupants, and densely or nondensely occupied spaces based on the concentration of occupants in the space., and air speed and radiant temperature testing with the use of handheld meters or other monitoring equipment. See LEED-EBOM IEQc2.3 for additional ideas on permanent monitoring systems.

    What is the best way to implement a survey? 

    The survey must measure thermal comfort conditions and satisfaction based on ASHRAE 55-2004 thermal comfort criteriaComfort criteria are specific design conditions that take into account temperature, humidity, air speed, outdoor temperature, outdoor humidity, seasonal clothing, and expected activity. (ASHRAE 55–2004), and is to be measured by a 7-point scale format (+3 = very satisfied, 0 = neutral, -3 = very dissatisfied). Although USGBC does not require a specific means to administer the survey, there are a few options out there that can be easy for the project team to implement. Surveys can be done by phone, networked computer, website or a paper questionnaire. Web–based surveys can compile data readily and generate results that can be helpful in evaluating responses. See the Resources tab for links.

    Is there a required number of respondents to the survey?

    No, LEED does not define a minimum number of occupants that need to respond to the survey. However, if 20% of those that do respond are dissatisfied or uncomfortable, corrective action plan must be put in place.

    Can residential dorms pursue IEQc7.2?

    USGBC has not publicized a blanket policy on whether dorms would be considered residential projects per this credit, and it is up to the discretion of the project team to determine the most appropriate project type and whether this credit can be pursued. If the dorm includes common areas, lounges, game areas, kitchen, etc. there may be opportunity for this credit to be pursued, but GBCIThe Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) manages Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building certification and professional accreditation processes. It was established in 2008 with support from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). may not approve of this—it's best to check.

Legend

  • Best Practices
  • Gotcha
  • Action Steps
  • Cost Tip

Pre-Design

Expand All

  • Can you earn this credit? Check for occupancy type (residential projects cannot pursue this credit) and confirm whether you can also achieve credit IEQc7.1, which you have to earn to get credit for IEQc7.2.   


  • Although it is not a requirement for compliance, consider including a permanent comfort monitoring system.


  • This is generally a low- or no-cost credit in terms of capital costs. There will be some staff time associated with developing and processing survey results. 


  • Monitoring building systems will help project teams identify areas where the systems are not functioning as designed. Correcting these inefficiencies may provide cost savings that would not otherwise be revealed.


  • This design credit is implemented after the project is complete and the building is occupied. Through design development, the primary concern is to meet the requirements of IEQc7.1. 


  • It is also helpful for projects attempting this credit to pursue IEQc6.2: Controllability of Systems—Thermal Comfort. When occupants have control of their thermal comfort they tend to be more satisfied. 

Schematic Design

Expand All

  • Review the requirements for survey content and review the requirements for the plan for corrective action. 


  • Review the relevant environmental variables defined by ASHRAE 55-2004:

    • Metabolic rate
    • Clothing insulation
    • Air temperature
    • Radiant temperature
    • Air Speed and Humidity. 

  • Develop a survey that addresses measurement of these variables (see below for more details), or contract with a third-party occupant survey service. You can find a sample thermal comfort survey in Appendix E of ASHRAE-55. 


  • Develop the thermal comfort survey after determining space programming, designing the mechanical system, and confirming compliance with IEQc7.1. It is best to customize the occupant survey for the building’s planned HVAC systems. Questions may be structured differently depending on whether you are assessing the performance of an evaporative cooling system, an in-floor radiant heating system, or a natural ventilation system. For example, a team may include questions about humidity levels for a project with an evaporative cooling system, while questions for a project with a natural ventilation system may be focused more on occupant satisfaction with airflow or controllability of the thermal environment. 


  • Develop a compliant occupant survey or map out your planned survey process (if you’ll be using a third-party survey) prior to submitting your documentation for review. Early on, the primary concern is to meet the requirements of IEQc7.1. 


  • You don’t gain anything by waiting to submit for this credit until the construction submittal, but if you want to wait and see whether you’ll need the point before committing to it, you can. (Whether or not you pursue the credit, surveying occupants about their satisfaction is a good practice.)


  • For $1,000 you can also use a well-tested and robust survey from the Center for the Built Environment at the University of California–Berkeley. This tool handles most of the logistical and administrative tasks for you, and gives you results in the context of results from hundreds of other buildings. (See Resources.) 


  • Using a comprehensive Occupant Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) Survey service like the one from UC Berkeley offers you the possibility of gleaning useful information on many other aspects of your indoor environment beyond thermal comfort. You can also customize it to learn occupant responses to specific features of your building. And getting your results mapped alongside others is very useful.

Design Development

Expand All

  • Customize the occupant survey for system type and building programming per ASHRAE 55-2004.


  • Have the commissioning agent, mechanical engineer, or O&M staff review the survey draft and develop the plan for corrective action. Involve the owner in this process and be sure that he or she understands the purpose of the survey and plan for corrective action. The owner will be responsible for signing off on the LEED documentation, verifying the implementation of the survey, and the development of the corrective action plan. 


  • Survey participants must remain anonymous, but ideally they should provide information on their location. For example, you may want them to indicate on which floor and directional face (north, south, east, west) of the building they are located (or wing or program area). Doing so helps to better identify problem areas. 


  • Determine the implementation process for the survey and who will administer it. 


  • Administering an online survey through a third-party provider helps to retain respondent anonymity and tabulate results. Paper surveys that use a drop-box are also permissible. 


  • Surveys must address all of the thermal comfort variables addressed in IEQc7.1 and ASHRAE-55. Informative Appendix E of ASHRAE-55 provides an example of survey variables and content. Also, refer to the Documentation Toolkit for sample surveys. 


  • At a minimum, thermal comfort surveys should address the following:

    • Season
    • Weather conditions at the time of the survey 
    • Activity level prior to taking the survey
    • Type of dress
    • Equipment in use in the space (computers, appliances, etc.)

  • Base information about level of satisfaction with thermal conditions on a 7-point scale.


  • If the commissioning agent or MEP is developing the plan for corrective action, make sure that the owner and O&M staff review and understand it so they can implement it if needed. 


  • A plan for corrective action should include system inspection to confirm proper operation, adjustment of set points, change in operating schedule, increasing air volumes, and other basic HVAC management measures.


  • Engage the commissioning agent in this credit as soon as they are brought onto the project, as they may be able to offer valuable insight into appropriate survey questions and offer help with developing a plan for corrective action. 


  • Some teams may elect to have the commissioning agent manage this credit and administer the survey as a final step in their commissioning scope. The commissioning agent will likely have a strong grasp of appropriate survey questions and will be involved in making adjustments to the operating ranges and schedule to optimize performance. 


  • Consider including questions that address issues outside of ASHRAE 55-2004, such as acoustics, lighting and other comfort or productivity issues. The survey process is a great opportunity to measure building performance beyond ASHRAE 55-2004 and thermal comfort.

Construction Documents

Expand All

  • Include specifications for O&M and the plan for corrective action.


  • If the HVAC engineer, commissioning agent, or other team members will be involved in developing and/or implementing this credit after construction, include that in the specifications. 


  • Be sure to include requirements for IEQc7.1 and IEQc7.2 in the specifications. 

Operations & Maintenance

Expand All

  • Conduct the survey after 6–18 months of occupancy. Survey all building occupants, including students in grades 6–12, teachers, and staff. 


  • Compile survey results and review them to identify trends that reflect good or poor system performance.


  • Compare survey results with the outputs of the building monitoring system to identify areas of the building that are not functioning as expected. 


  • Consider surveying building occupants several times throughout the year. This is not a LEED requirement but may produce more meaningful data about how the building is performing. Also, if you implement any changes from the corrective action plan, you may want to administer a survey after implementation to verify that the problems were adequately addressed. 


  • If 20% or more of survey respondents are dissatisfied with their thermal comfort, implement the plan for corrective action. 


  • There may be some cost impact for implementing the survey, compiling results, and, if necessary, making adjustments per the plan of corrective action. This cost impact is just based on time investment, not capital investment.


  • Cost will vary depending on the size of the project, number of occupants surveyed, and whether or not adjustments to the system need to be made. Unless you pay for a third-party surveying or post-occupancy evaluation service, there are no direct costs to be incurred beyond the effort and time investment.


  • There is an indirect cost benefit in ensuring that occupants are comfortable and that systems are working correctly, both of which will maximize productivity and efficiency. 


  • Surveys can be administered in a variety of ways—by phone, networked computer, web-based survey, or paper questionnaire. A web-based survey program can automatically compile data and generate relevant results.   

  • USGBC

    Excerpted from LEED 2009 for Schools New Construction and Major Renovations

    IEQ Credit 7.2: Thermal comfort - verification

    1 point in addition to IE Q credit 7.1

    Intent

    To provide for the assessment of building occupant thermal comfort over time.

    Requirements

    Achieve IEQ Credit 7.1: Thermal Comfort—Design

    Agree to conduct a thermal comfort survey of building occupants (adults and students of grades 6 and above) within 6 to 18 months after occupancy. This survey should collect anonymous responses about thermal comfort in the building, including an assessment of overall satisfaction with thermal performance and identification of thermal comfort problems. Agree to develop a plan for corrective action if the survey results indicate that more than 20% of occupants are dissatisfied with thermal comfort in the building. This plan should include measurement of relevant environmental variables in problem areas in accordance with the standard used for design in IEQ Credit 7.1: Thermal Comfort – Design.

    Potential Technologies & Strategies

    ASHRAE Standard 55-2004 provides guidance for establishing thermal comfort criteriaComfort criteria are specific design conditions that take into account temperature, humidity, air speed, outdoor temperature, outdoor humidity, seasonal clothing, and expected activity. (ASHRAE 55–2004) and documenting and validating building performance to the criteria. While the standard is not intended for purposes of continuous monitoring and maintenance of the thermal environment, the principles expressed in the standard provide a basis for the design of monitoring and corrective action systems.

    FOOTNOTE

    1.  Project teams wishing to use ASHRAE approved addenda for the purposes of this credit may do so at their discretion. Addenda must be applied consistently across all LEED credits.

Technical Guides

IEQ Space Matrix - 2nd Edition

This updated version of the spreadsheet categories dozens of specific space types according to how they should be applied under various IEQ credits. This document is essential if you have questions about how various unique space types should be treated. Up to date, 2nd Edition.


IEQ Space Matrix - 1st Ed.

This spreadsheet categories dozens of specific space types according to how they should be applied under various IEQ credits. This document is essential if you have questions about how various unique space types should be treated.  This is the 1st edition.

Web Tools

Survey Monkey

Web-based survey administrator–can be used to administer occupant surveys.


Survey Gizmo

Web-based survey administrator–can be used to administer occupant surveys.


Question Pro

Web-based survey administrator–can be used to administer occupant surveys.


Center for the Built Environment

For a fee, this resource provides a template for creating a survey, and provides opportunity for the project team to contribute their project data to greater green building efforts.


The Usable Buildings Trust

Great tips and guidance on how to find out what works and doesn’t work in buildings, including occupant surveys.


BCG Survey

For a fee, this resource provides a template for creating a survey, and provides opportunity for the project team to contribute their project data to greater green building efforts.

Thermal Comfort Survey

Use a thermal comfort survey like this template to assess occupant comfort according to the credit requirements.

LEED Online Forms: Schools-2009 IEQ

Sample LEED Online forms for all rating systems and versions are available on the USGBC website.

Design Submittal

PencilDocumentation for this credit can be part of a Design Phase submittal.

13 Comments

0
0
Matthew Heaton
Oct 10 2014
Guest
125 Thumbs Up

Survey for Sixth Graders

Project Location: United States

A comment that came back on our IEQc7.2 design review asked us to "Please provide confirmation that the survey will be administered to include all building occupants, including students of grades six and above". Our project is an elementery school (Grades pre-K through 6). The original submittal stated that the survey would be administered by the school districts superintendents office but we did not specifically state that it would be given to all adult staff and grade 6 students. Should we respond that the survey will be given to everyone listed or is it expected that we submit a separate survey directed specifically at the sixth graders.

1
2
0
April Brown Sustainable Building Consultant, Green Bridge Consulting Oct 10 2014 Guest 1449 Thumbs Up

Hi Matthew,

Yes, confirm that the survey will be administered to those individuals. You also may need a different survey for the students, depending on how the questions are asked, so that it's not confusing for the students. For example, you may need to add a question that asks where in the classroom they sit most often (near window, back, front, etc...) and you may need to change some of the questions to refer to classrooms instead of offices.

2
2
0
Matthew Heaton Oct 10 2014 Guest 125 Thumbs Up

Thanks, we'll add a survey to address a kids perspective on items like the one you mentioned.

Post a Reply
0
0
Stantec Inc. Stantec, Inc.
May 31 2013
LEEDuser Member
532 Thumbs Up

Corrective Action for Thermal Comfort Survey

The owner is signing off on the fact that a plan for corrective action WILL BE developed, but it does not clarify who develops it, nor does the plan of corrective action need to be uploaded. Outside of getting the signature and uploading an example of the survey and how the survey will be handled, am I correct in understanding that there is no other documentation required in connection to the corrective plan of action?

1
2
0
Ahmed Younis Instrumentation and Control Engineer / LEED AP BD+C, Dar Al Handasah Jun 03 2013 Guest 256 Thumbs Up

dear Stantec,
the following is the only thing I saw in the study guide:
Create a written plan for corrective action if 20% or more of building occupants are dissatisfied with thermal comfort in the building (in addition to the survey ofcourse).

2
2
0
Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Executive Editor – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Nov 04 2013 LEEDuser Moderator

Not all LEED requirements require documentation uploads, etc. I am not currently looking at the LEED Online form for this one, but in general, provide what's asked for, and don't worry about documenting what's not asked for (while still doing what you committed to, of course).

Post a Reply
0
0
Ema S
Mar 13 2013
Guest
652 Thumbs Up

Thermal Comfort Survey and Corrective Action

Does anyone know where I can find a thermal comfort survey and samples of plans for corrective action?

1
2
0
Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Executive Editor – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Mar 13 2013 LEEDuser Moderator

Yes, under LEEDuser's Documentation Toolkit, above.

2
2
0
Ema S Mar 13 2013 Guest 652 Thumbs Up

We received a couple of questions concerning this credit:
"The survey must be based on a seven point system scale and address environmetal factors such as temperature, thermal radiation, humidity, and air speed".
Does tha sample survey comply with these requirements?
I thought that tthe survey we had submitted complied since our rating system went from -3,-2,-1,0,1,2,3....
As farFloor-area ratio is the density of nonresidential land use, exclusive of parking, measured as the total nonresidential building floor area divided by the total buildable land area available for nonresidential structures. For example, on a site with 10,000 square feet (930 square meters) of buildable land area, an FAR of 1.0 would be 10,000 square feet (930 square meters) of building floor area. On the same site, an FAR of 1.5 would be 15,000 square feet (1395 square meters), an FAR of 2.0 would be 20,000 square feet (1860 square meters), and an FAR of 0.5 would be 5,000 square feet (465 square meters). as the environmental factors.....does the sample survey meet these requirements??

Post a Reply
0
0
Kathleen Lawson
May 09 2011
LEEDuser Member
122 Thumbs Up

Owner as required signatory

Was the Owner the required signatory in Schools 2007? Submitting final documentation now under that version, have been made aware of the Owner's proceedure for surveying and implementing corrective action, and supplied the survey to the Owner. Would prefer to sign off on this credit myself (as LEED consultant) for the Owner. Is this permitted?

1
1
0
Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Executive Editor – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. May 19 2011 LEEDuser Moderator

Kathleen, it should be clear from the credit form whether the owner is the required signatory. I'm guessing it might not be, since those have tended to be added for 2009. However, I couldn't say without looking at the form, and I don't have 2007 forms.

Post a Reply
0
0
Kimberly Cullinane
Jan 29 2011
Guest
653 Thumbs Up

Grade 2-5 Elementary School

Just confirming that we are still eligible for this credit even if our project is a grade 2-5 elementary school. In our case, we would just need to survey all teachers and staff?

1
1
0
Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Executive Editor – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Feb 07 2011 LEEDuser Moderator

Yes, it would be sufficient to survey the adults in the building.

Post a Reply

Start a new comment thread

Apr 23 2017
Type the characters you see in this picture. (verify using audio)
Type the characters you see in the picture above; if you can't read them, submit the form and a new image will be generated. Not case sensitive.

Copyright 2017 – BuildingGreen, Inc.