Interdisciplinary HumTec Seed-Fund Project "Human Performance/Productivity in Office Buildings"


Quantification of the effects of heat and cold stress on human performance in energy-efficient office buildings

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We spend about 80% of our time indoors. Our well-being and productivity depend on a number of factors – inside a person as well as environmental. For example, our job performance is primarily determined by our skills and our motivation, but also influenced by external influences such as indoor air temperature, room acoustics, and lighting conditions. This project aimed to explore potential performance impairments due to moderately elevated indoor temperatures. A series of laboratory experiments in a climate-conditioned chamber investigated the influence of this stressor in various job-relevant areas. Specifically, the study examined competence areas that have been mostly neglected in previous studies, such as persistence in challenging tasks, recognizing emotions of a potential interaction partner, as well as linguistic and communication-specific aspects by applying a task-switching exercise. Persistence was shown to be impaired even at moderately elevated ambient temperatures (28-30°C). Research on factors that potentially affect well-being in indoor environments are also relevant within the context of the envisaged energy transition and the necessary improvements in the energy performance of buildings.


Project term:

04/2013 to 04/2014


Project partner:



HumTec Interdisciplinary Research Centre RWTH Aachen



[journal article]

Too hot to carry on? Disinclination to persist at a task in a warm office environment
In: Ergonomics : an international journal of research and practice in human factors and ergonomics, 61 (4), 476-481, 2017 [DOI: 10.1080/00140139.2017.1353141]