A Pilot Study on the Combined Multi-domain Impact of Indoor Air Quality and Noise on Office Productivity

Zhipeng Deng, Bing Dong, Xin Guo, Jianshun Jensen Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalConference Articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


As people spend 90% of their time indoors, it was necessary to improve indoor environmental quality to enhance human productivity. Indoor environmental quality consists of indoor air quality (IAQ), thermal, visual, and acoustic comfort. However, only a few studies have investigated the combined effects of IAQ and noise. During and after the COVID-19 pandemic, portable air cleaner is often used in buildings to reduce the concentration of particles in the air, but it also generates noise. The objective of this study is to determine the effects of a portable air cleaner on IAQ and noise level, and more importantly the resulting combined effects on office productivity. For this purpose, we conducted human subject tests in an office and each test lasted for 1.5h. For each case, the air temperature, relative humidity, and supply airflow rate were kept constant while the air cleaner was switched between on and off for various noise levels and IAQ. We recruited 7 participants and collected data on the concentration of CO2, particles, and TVOC every 5 minutes. We used wristbands to measure heart rate and skin electrodermal activity. And we used headbands to measure electroencephalogram (EEG) and facial activity. The questionnaire survey was used to learn the occupants' responses to the indoor environment. To learn their productivity, occupants also did math addition tasks and typing tasks. We found that when using the portable air cleaner, the noise level raised from 55dB to around 70dB. The particle and TVOC concentrations were reduced by 90% and 20%, respectively. The questionnaire survey showed that the occupants felt unsatisfied due to noise. And the noise dissatisfaction exceeded the improved IAQ. By analyzing the EEG and the number of jaw clenches, the occupants felt more nervous and concentrated when the air cleaner was on. We confirmed the impact of noise and the combined impact of IAQ and noise on office productivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number01047
JournalE3S Web of Conferences
StatePublished - Jun 16 2023
Event11th International Conference on Indoor Air Quality, Ventilation and Energy Conservation in Buildings, IAQVE C2023 - Tokyo, Japan
Duration: May 20 2023May 23 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • General Energy
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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