LBNL Report Number
Recent trends in todayﾒs office environment make it increasingly more difficult for conventional centralized HVAC systems to satisfy the environmental preferences of individual officer workers using the standardized approach of providing a single uniform thermal and ventilation environment. Since its original introduction in West Germany during the 1950s, the open plan office containing modular workstation furniture and partitions is now the norm. Thermostatically controlled zones in open plan offices typically encompass relatively large numbers of workstations in which a diverse work population having a wide range of preferred temperatures must be accommodated. Modern office buildings are also being impacted by a large influx of heat-generating equipment (computers, printers, etc.) whose loads may vary considerably from workstation to workstation. Offices are often reconfigured during the building's lifetime to respond to changing tenant needs, affecting the distribution of within-space loads and the ventilation pathways among and over office partitions. Compounding this problem, there has been a growing awareness of the importance of the comfort, health, and productivity of individual office workers, giving rise to an increased demand among employers and employees for a high-quality work environment.