[Bldg-sim] productivity of office workers as function of temperature and co2 concentration (UNCLASSIFIED)

Eurek, John S NWO John.S.Eurek at usace.army.mil
Mon Jun 11 11:09:34 PDT 2012

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: NONE
Monitoring CO2 concentrations isn't necessarily about CO2.  Sensing CO2 is only an indicator for all the other chemicals in the air.

People put off methane, wear perfume, expel formaldehyde, sweat and a whole lot of disgusting stuff.

Buildings often try to maintain 800ppm of CO2. OSHA allows exposure of 5,000ppm of CO2 for 8 hours.  The reason it is common to maintain a CO2 level which is 1/6th of the OSHA approved limits is because it isn't necessarily CO2 we are trying to control.  It is all the other smells...

This is also why it may be difficult to find a graph showing performance vs C02 levels (see bottom).  The study showed at 2500ppm no measurable difference in performance was detected.

And lastly, Why monitor CO2?  The sensors are cheap and accurate.



From: bldg-sim-bounces at lists.onebuilding.org [mailto:bldg-sim-bounces at lists.onebuilding.org] On Behalf Of Nick Caton
Sent: Monday, June 11, 2012 12:20 PM
To: Struck Christian HSLU T&A; 'bldg-sim at lists.onebuilding.org'
Subject: Re: [Bldg-sim] productivity of office workers as function of temperature and co2 concentration

This sounds like the beginnings of a an elaborate/scientific office prank with the boss's thermostat... =)

In all seriousness, I believe the effect of ambient temperatures are pretty established.  Here's a brief article in layman's terms and a pretty graph:

Here's a research paper cited in the previous link with more info:

I'm not certain whether there is anything in the realm of IEQ/CO2 monitoring that establishes a clear causal effect on task productivity similar to the above.

Here's a paper that attempts to connect the dots between ventilation rates (2 levels) and annual sick-leave accrual for office workers:  http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=milton%20risk%20of%20sick%20leave%20associated%20with%20outdoor%20air%20supply%20rate%2C%20humidification%2C%20and%20occupant%20complaints&source=web&cd=3&ved=0CFoQFjAC&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.e-co.uk.com%2FRecirc-Milton2000.pdf&ei=xCbRT5ujBeWL2AXWw4WxDw&usg=AFQjCNFBvi_nWYBGbwn_f6NV3hxRHn7MtA

The "dollars lost"  economical argument extrapolated in the conclusions looks dramatic, but even if we accept CO2 concentrations are tied directly to sick leave hours...  that's not quite the same thing as a direct productivity effect (i.e. my co-worker breathing heavily is preventing me from doing my work).

If you were to combine the above studies into a single model I suppose you reasonably establish a linear CO2-concentration-factor curve to apply against an ambient temperature curve to come up with a combined productivity effect.  I might sooner look further for something akin to the temperature study however.


[cid:489575314 at 22072009-0ABB]


Smith & Boucher Engineers
25501 west valley parkway, suite 200
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direct 913.344.0036
fax 913.345.0617

From: bldg-sim-bounces at lists.onebuilding.org<mailto:bldg-sim-bounces at lists.onebuilding.org> [mailto:bldg-sim-bounces at lists.onebuilding.org] On Behalf Of Struck Christian HSLU T&A
Sent: Tuesday, June 05, 2012 9:09 AM
To: 'bldg-sim at lists.onebuilding.org'
Subject: [Bldg-sim] productivity of office workers as function of temperature and co2 concentration

Hey all

Can you point me towards a model which describes the office worker productivity as a function of temperature AND co2 concentration?

Many thanks in advance!


Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
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