The human factor

• People are more tolerant of conditions in a naturally run building than in sealed air conditioned boxes, for example the acceptable range of temperature is wider and perceptible air movement more acceptable. The reasons are that people like to feel in control, hence the need to avoid excessive automatic control and also that they make unconscious adjustments for longer in environments that are congenial.

• Occupants generally do not have the patience to keep fine tuning their building environment and will tend to do what is most convenient. Robust, clearly articulated systems are the answer.

• As a general rule people find it easier to switch systems on than off, hence, again, manual on, automatic off should be the norm. At the same time, the inertia factor tends to increase when people are in groups. There is a reluctance to be conspicuous with its potential for risking criticism.

• Sudden changes are disrupting therefore automatic climate modifications should occur imperceptibly where this is possible.

• Awareness of the outside world is an important component of contentment. Most of the time external views are perceived at a non-conscious level, but psychological studies indicate that the mind can make a very full response to the visual milieu without reference to consciousness.

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