1. Which aspects of comfort are assessed by the Comfortmeter?
A Comfortmeter survey rates 6 aspects of indoor comfort: Thermal Comfort, Air Quality, Acoustics, Lighting, Personal Control and Office Environment & Cleanliness.
2. Is Comfortmeter compliant with BREAAM-in-use?
Yes. The BREAAM-in-use system contains a category about the perceived building satisfaction of the building users (HEA25). This category stipulates that the users’ satisfaction is assessed in a ‘Post-Occupancy Survey’. The Comfortmeter survey is compliant with the requirements of such a Post-Occupancy Survey.
3. Is Comfortmeter compliant with the WELL Building Standard?

Yes. Feature 86 of the WELL Building Standard (‘Post Occupancy Surveys’) measures the extent to which a building is effectively promoting and protecting the health and comfort needs of its occupants. Comfortmeter is compliant with the survey requirements of Feature 86.

Given the diversity of built environments, it is difficult to prescribe a comprehensive set of features that are effective across all settings. Occupancy Surveys are useful in measuring the extent to which a building is effectively promoting and protecting the health and comfort needs of its occupants. In addition, the ability to offer feedback and have a recognized stake in one’s comfort and well-being can have a positive impact on occupant mood.

4. How is the survey process organized? How long does it take?

The survey process consists in 4 main steps:

  1. Preparing the survey (in close cooperation with the client): gathering all e-mail addresses of the persons working in a building. Possibly, subdividing a building in zones (e.g. multi-tenant building, or a building with 2 clearly different characteristics). Drafting the invitation text to the survey, in concertation with the HR Manager, or Facility Manager, that is ordering the survey.
  2. Conducting the actual survey: sending out the e-mails including links to the online-survey.
  3. Reporting the survey: processing and benchmarking the survey results; subsequently sending the report to the customer.
  4. Commenting the survey results: webinar (max 1 hour).

The above described activities normally take 6 weeks. Upon specific request, the duration of the survey process may be shortened.

5. How long does it take for an employee to complete the survey?

On average, it takes maximum 10 minutes to complete the survey.

6. How many languages are available to conduct a survey?

Ten languages: English, Dutch BE / NL (2), French, German, Italian, Danish, Norsk (Bokmål), Greek, Latvian and Czech.

7. What kind of information is provided in a Comfortmeter report?

The Comfortmeter report contains all crucial information related to perceived indoor comfort. The Comfortmeter report also benchmarks the surveyed building to the buildings in the database.This enables the customer (HR Manager, Facility Manager, Real Estate Broker, ESCO, etc.) to get insight in the current comfort satisfaction of the users. The Comfortmeter report also outlines the areas of improvement as well as the areas the measures that are recommended for raising the comfort level. Additionally, the recommended measures are ranked according to their impact on the productivity of the office workers. The following topics are reported: light, air quality, temperature, acoustics, personal control, and office environment & cleanliness.

8. Which reporting languages are available?

A Comfortmeter report may be generated in English, German, Dutch or French.

9. What is the average response rate of a Comfortmeter survey?

The average response rate is 57%, which is high in comparison with online surveys in general. This is explained by the fact that most addressees value the fact that their opinion is being asked on a topic that has an important impact on their (professional) life. Beyond this intrinsic motivation, it also appears that a well written introduction text, in which the context/objective of the survey is explained by the HR Manager, or by the Facility Manager, is crucial to stimulate the addressees to spend some time to provide feedback on the perceived comfort within their office.

The high response rate increases considerably the representativeness and the reliability of the measured results.

10. What is the minimum number of respondents required to have a reliable statistical outcome?

More than 100 is the ideal situation. 40 respondents generate a low estimation error. 20 respondents is a minimum requirement and generates a high estimation error.

11. How is determined where the respondents are located in the building?

As part of the questionnaire, each respondent has to specify the building zone he/she is normally working in, out of a predefined list of options.

12. Comfortmeter measures 'subjective' comfort experience in an objective and scientific way. How does it work?

Measuring the comfort experience of building users is extremely relevant, amongst other as it affects employees’ productivity as well as health (and thus sick leave). However, comfort experience is by definition a subjective human experience.

The Comfortmeter is based on a carefully selected list of questions that were previously used in the most successful scientific comfort satisfaction questionnaires available at the time of the development of the Comfortmeter tool. The selected questions were subsequently validated and fine-tuned by a team of comfort experts from several European universities that have contributed to the development of Comfortmeter.

We firmly believe that people are the best measuring ‘instruments’. To a certain extent, these human measuring instruments need to be ‘calibrated’ though. Therefore, in orde to ‘objectify’ or ‘normalize’ the responses, some personal questions are asked about the respondents: gender, age, mental status (stressed, relaxed,…). Subsequently, by means of correlations known from comfort literature, the raw data are normalized.

13. What is the difference between a Comfortmeter survey and a classical measurement campaign (that measures parameters such as temperature, humidity, etc) ?

There are two major approaches for measuring the comfort performance of a building:

Direct comfort measurement, such as Comfortmeter, where the building users are directly questioned about their indoor comfort experience (comfort satisfaction of temperature in summer, in winter, perceived air quality…) on the basis of which an average comfort satisfaction score of the building can be calculated.

Indirect comfort measurements are realized in two steps. In the first step, a number of physical parameters (e.g. temperature, relative humidity, CO2-level, light quality, acoustical parameters…) of the work environment are monitored/measured during a certain time. In a second step – and thus indirectly – an assessment of the expected comfort experience and comfort satisfaction score of the building users, is made by a specialized expert, based on the supposed correlation between physical parameters and comfort satisfaction as measured in a laboratory environment.

Direct and indirect comfort measurements are complementary approaches: Direct comfort measurements are a useful and cost-effective means to monitor the comfort level in large buildings an a regular and comparable basis. The added value of direct measurements is more apparent when zooming in on particular comfort issues that have been detected through direct comfort measurements, e.g. health issues due to bad air quality.

14. Does the Comfortmeter report the impact of comfort on absence due to sick leave ?

Presently the Comfortmeter does not calculate the financial effect of (reduced) sick leave. However, the Comfortmeter produces essential information which enables the client to decide if further investigation of ‘office-related-sick-leave’ is required.

15. For which type of buildings is the Comfortmeter suited?

In principle, the Comfortmeter survey is intended for use in any building with people that have their own workspace (offices, schools, universities, retail,…). However, the type of questions will vary slightly according to the type of building.

Factor4 has started by developing a survey for offices. Other variants of the Comfortmeter survey are likely to follow (schools, retail, care,…).

Organizations using flex working can also be surveyed with the Comfortmeter, as long as the flex workers work most of the time in the same building zone (not necessarily on the very same spot).

 

16. What are the minimum requirements for conducting a Comfortmeter survey in a building?

The building must have been occupied during more than 12 months. This implies that the building user has experienced at least 1 cooling and 1 heating cycle (read: 1 summer and 1 winter).