Subjective Evaluation of UAE inhabitant’s perceptions of their Residential & Commercial Indoor Environments

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The British University in Dubai (BUiD)
Research has perpetually shown us that an Indoor Environment quality is a judged by a detailed evaluation of its Indoor Air quality, Thermal Comfort, Acoustic and Visual Comfort. We also understand that physiological and psychological factors do influence the way people perceive an indoor environment. But, very less research has been conducted upon how an individual’s demographics, i.e. their age, gender and origin affects their perception of levels of comfort, health and productivity in an indoor setting. This thesis shows the findings of investigation into the IEQ comfort, health and productivity through Quantitative (survey questionnaire) and Qualitative evaluation (extensive literature review). The main subject of the research focuses on efforts to address the occupants’ responses associated with Comfort and Health as well as the opinions of their working and living environments based on their responses. Based on the evaluations made by 1000 occupants of the IEQ of offices and homes in Dubai, Results are derived from a series of intervention studies in order to determine the effects of all parameters independently as well as to explore further variables responsible for the effects of the indoor environmental inconsistency. By calculations of Average, Standard deviation, Mean and P-values, it was found that in Residential Environments; Gender caused differences in perception of Thermal Comfort and Levels of Productivity. Age was a factor to variance in Health complaints such as Nausea/vomiting, Shortness of breath, Stuffy Nose, Skin rash/itchiness, Eye irritation and Perception of lowered productivity, whereas Origin caused difference in opinion in terms of Thermal Comfort only. In Commercial Environments; Gender was a factor for the variance in the perception of satisfaction in terms of Noise, lighting, thermal comfort and productivity levels. Age was a factor for health complaints in symptoms of Eye irritation, whereas Origin was a cause for difference in perception of Thermal Comfort. In a majority of the developing cities including Dubai, architects and engineers have not been the target of liability for arising IEQ issues yet, which have resulted in occupants being sick due to the poor IAQ or insufficient day lighting and many other factors. This is causing a great concern in the fields of design and construction as professionals suffer a loss in terms of reputation and money. Due to increase in a competitive construction market in the UAE, it is becoming incalculably essential for owners to maintain higher occupancy rate and meet the increasing demands of sustainable, healthy and comfortable indoor environs to become environmental friendly, care for the occupants as well as attract further tenants. Findings from this study can assist Owners, architects, designers, contractors, policy makers and the government organizations in Dubai to improve their indoor environmental quality and sustain clean and healthy Indoor settings. It is vital that sustainability in the region does not only focus on resource conservation but also on human health, comfort and productivity within building environments. This study hopes to provide insight over the factors affecting occupant perception of Indoor Environmental Quality in relation to building performance.
indoor environment quality, indoor air quality, acoustic comfort, visual comfort, building performance, United Arab Emirates (UAE), construction market, thermal comfort