Associate Professor Leena Thomas is a sustainable architecture academic and research expert with experience in Australia and India. Her research focuses on interrogating and transforming contemporary design practices to be responsive to global concerns for climate change, zero carbon development and high-quality living/work environments.
Leena has pioneered the use of detailed post-occupancy evaluation to develop a rich narrative of building performance that combines social and qualitative dimensions of building development and operation with technical building performance. Her research emphasises contextual analysis of design process, design attributes and building management in tandem with metrics for energy and occupant satisfaction, comfort, health, well-being, and perceived productivity.
Leena’s studies in India and Australia include a number of iconic green buildings as well as a range of contexts from activity based working (ABW), high density living, retail and transient environments to public buildings. Funding partners and industry stakeholders have used her research outcomes to validate design decisions toward improving development and procurement of buildings, and to manage facilities better to ensure they reach their potential.
At UTS, Leena teaches sustainable architectural design, thermal design, lighting, acoustics and advanced environmental control in buildings. Her recent Master of Architecture design studios at key brownfield sites explore the role of architecture as a catalyst for sustainability and regeneration in the city.
Leena is currently Chief Investigator with Professor Richard de Dear on an Australia Research Council Linkage project Building Occupants Survey System Australia - LP110200328. She is also Lead Expert and CI on a project that has developed the India Model for Adaptive Thermal Comfort (IMAC) with CEPT University, Ahmedabad India, funded by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy - Government of India, Climate Works Foundation and Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation.
She was the UTS Coordinator for a Developing Architectural Education in Response to Climate Change (DARC) project between six universities: ETSAB Barcelona, ENSA Toulouse, Politecnico di Torino and RMIT, UTS and QUT. This was a Joint Mobility Project under the EU-Australia Bilateral Cooperation Projects for Designing the New World programme between 2010 and 2013.
Her expertise is recognised through invitations to provide policy advice for government and industry bodies, peer review of research work, and dissemination of research outcomes for its application to professional practice and to serve on design and industry award juries.
Education Committee, Green Building Council of Australia
Technical Advisory Group, National Australian Building Environmental Scheme Rating Tool
Member, Australia New Zealand Solar Energy Society
Member, Australia New Zealand Architectural Science Association
Can supervise: YES
Post occupancy evaluation and building performance
Indoor environment, occupant well being, comfort and productivity;
Sustainable urban practices and environmental design
The nexus between design process and environmental outcomes in green buildings;
Environmental Rating Tools.
Building performance evaluation including computational tools
Architectural Design – Environmental Performance and Sustainability
Candido, C., Thomas, L., Haddad, S., Zhang, F., Mackey, M. & Ye, W. 2018, 'Designing activity-based workspaces: satisfaction, productivity and physical activity', Building Research and Information, pp. 1-15.View/Download from: Publisher's site
© 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group Activity-based working (ABW) provides office workers with a variety of indoor workspaces purposively designed to accommodate different tasks. Despite an increased use of ABW, studies focusing on its impact and the resultant office design are yet to follow suit. This paper addresses this knowledge gap by providing empirical evidence from studies conducted before and after relocation from contemporary open-plan offices to ABW spaces. Results from post-occupancy evaluation (POE) surveys (n=896 responses), spot measurements of indoor environmental quality (IEQ) and step-count monitoring (one case study; n=20 participants) before and after relocation are reported. A total of 10 workspaces participated (six combi and four ABW) in this study. Design features were documented and analyzed. While there were limited differences in the measured IEQ conditions between office layouts investigated here, ABW workspaces yielded significantly higher satisfaction results on key IEQ dimensions, perceived productivity and health. Office layout was also found as a significant (or nearly significant) predictor of occupants' lightly active and sedentary time but did not affect occupants' daily step counts and distance they travelled. These results highlight the significance and impact of office layout and human-centred approach to design on occupants' satisfaction, perceived productivity and incidental physical activity opportunities.
Thomas, L.E. 2017, 'Combating overheating: mixed-mode conditioning for workplace comfort', Building Research and Information: the international journal of research, development and demonstration, vol. 45, no. 1-2, pp. 176-194.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Candido, C., Jungsoo, K., de Dear, R. & Thomas, L.E. 2016, 'BOSSA: a multidimensional post-occupancy evaluation tool', Building Research & Information, vol. 44, no. 2, pp. 214-228.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Research findings point to three methodological shortcomings of current post-occupancy evaluation (POE) tools: (1) contextualizing results, (2) adding instrumental data side by side to survey results and (3) producing meaningful feedback to its key stakeholders. This paper introduces the holistic BOSSA (Building Occupants Survey System Australia) and tools developed under this project's scope in close collaboration with industry. It aims to present and discuss the statistical analysis used in the BOSSA tool, distilling the survey results down to nine indoor environmental quality (IEQ) dimensions and their association with four overall indices. Principal component analysis (PCA) extracted nine IEQ dimensions that were uncorrelated with each other: spatial comfort, indoor air quality, personal control, noise distraction and privacy, connection to the outdoor environment, building image and maintenance, individual space, thermal comfort, and visual comfort. Four separate multiple regression analyses were conducted, one for each global evaluation item as an independent variable: work area comfort, building satisfaction, productivity and health. This statistical analysis provided the rational basis of BOSSA's scoring system, designed to simplify how occupant survey results are communicated to key stakeholders from the property industry and researchers.
Kim, J., Candido, C., Thomas, L. & de Dear, R. 2016, 'Desk ownership in the workplace: The effect of non-territorial working on employee workplace satisfaction, perceived productivity and health', Building and Environment, vol. 103, pp. 203-214.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Manu, S., Shukla, Y., Rawal, R., Thomas, L.E. & de Dear, R. 2016, 'Corrigendum to 'Field studies of thermal comfort across multiple climate zones for the subcontinent: India model for adaptive comfort (IMAC) [Building and Environment 98 (2016) 55–70](S0360132315302171)(10.1016/j.buildenv.2015.12.019)', Building and Environment, vol. 106, pp. 422-426.View/Download from: Publisher's site
© 2016 The Author(s) The authors regret the errors in Figs. 2, 5 and 6, Table 11 and the corresponding text. The corrections are listed below. The authors would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused. Fig. 2 'Dependence of observed and predicted sensation on indoor operative temperature' has been updated as follows: Section 3.1 In the third paragraph, the following text appears (based on Fig. 2): 'For all building types, and more importantly for the AC buildings, the m_PMV gradient was higher than that of m_ASH, which shows that the PMV model predicted higher sensitivity of the occupants to indoor TOP as compared to what was observed in the field. The gap between the regression lines shows that at any given indoor TOP, PMV model predicted the sensation to be warmer than was observed on the right-here-right-now seven point thermal sensation scale. A Z-statistical test was run to compare the regression coefficients of the m_PMV and m_ASH regression models for every building mode aggregate and the coefficients were found to be significantly different (p < 0.05) in all cases. This should read: 'For all building types, and more importantly for the AC buildings, the m_PMV gradient was higher than that of m_ASH, which shows that the PMV model predicted higher sensitivity of the occupants to indoor TOP as compared to what was observed in the field. The gap between the regression lines shows that at indoor TOP higher than 16 °C, PMV model predicted the sensation to be warmer than was observed on the right-here-right-now seven point thermal sensation scale for NV and MM buildings. A Z-statistical test was run to compare the regression coefficients of the m_PMV and m_ASH regression models for every building mode aggregate and the coefficients were found to be significantly different (p < 0.05) in all cases. Section 3.1 In the fourth paragraph, the following text appears (based on Fig. 2): 'The difference between predicted sensation derived from Fanger's PMV model ...
Manu, S., Shukla, Y., Rawal, R., Thomas, L.E. & de Dear, R. 2016, 'Field Studies of Thermal Comfort Across Multiple Climate Zones for the Subcontinent: India Model for Adaptive Comfort (IMAC)', Building and Environment, vol. 98, no. March 2016, pp. 55-70.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
India is witnessing unprecedented growth trends in building construction, particularly office spaces. Indian offices are designed to operate at 22.5 ± 1 °C all year round to meet the stringent 'Class A specifications outlined by international standards in the absence of an India-specific comfort standard. This paper proposes an India Model for Adaptive Comfort – IMAC – based on the field surveys administered in 16 buildings in three seasons and five cities, representative of five Indian climate zones. A total of 6330 responses were gathered from naturally ventilated, mixed mode and air-conditioned office buildings using instantaneous thermal comfort surveys.
Occupants in naturally ventilated Indian offices were found to be more adaptive than the prevailing ASHRAE and EN models would suggest. According to the IMAC model, neutral temperature in naturally ventilated buildings varies from 19.6 to 28.5 °C for 30-day outdoor running mean air temperatures ranging from 12.5 to 31 °C. This is the first instance where a study proposes a single adaptive model for mixed mode buildings asserting its validity for both naturally ventilated and air-conditioned modes of operation in the building, with neutral temperature varying from 21.5 to 28.7 °C for 13–38.5 °C range of outdoor temperatures. For air-conditioned buildings, Fanger's static PMV model was found to consistently over-predict the sensation on the warmer side of the 7-point sensation scale.
Thomas, L.E., Rickwood, P. & Dilevska, J. 2015, 'The Carbon Cost of Work—Impacts of Office Building and Commuting Energy in Sydney Workplaces', Urban Policy and Research, vol. 33, no. 3, pp. 340-361.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
By combining the carbon impacts of commuting and building emission for the first time, the paper provides useful insights for designers and decision-makers. The authors investigate the greenhouse emissions of office workers in Sydney, drawing on census data, national building energy benchmarks as well as journey-to-work and energy data from two study buildings. Comparing work locations in the central business district (CBD) and Macquarie Park Corridor with metro-wide averages, they find that building emissions dominate over commuting emissions across the city, but commuting is increasingly important as building energy efficiency increases. Interestingly, the results indicate that efforts to improve a building's energy efficiency at Macquarie Park are largely negated by high reliance on car travel despite the introduction of the Epping–Chatswood train line. The authors conclude that improving building energy efficiency, office space utilisation and network connectivity (currently evident only in the CBD) delivers the best opportunity to reducing the carbon cost of workplaces.
Thomas, L.E. 2010, 'Evaluating Design Strategies, Performance And Occupant Satisfaction: A Low Carbon Office Refurbishment', Building Research & Information, vol. 38, no. 6, pp. 610-624.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Existing buildings present the best opportunity for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in developed economies, given that only 2-3% of the building stock is newly built each year. Insights from a post-occupancy evaluation of a large-scale refurbishment pr
A comparative post-occupancy evaluation, based on occupant surveys of 22 `green design intent buildings and 23 conventional buildings in Australia has been undertaken by Leaman, Thomas and Vandenberg. The study shows that while the best green buildings consistently outperformed the best conventional buildings from the occupants perspective, the first generation of Australian green buildings may be underperforming on some indoor environment variables. Green buildings that are designed and operated properly and are user responsive achieve positive environmental outcomes and simultaneously deliver positive feedback for comfort and productivity. On the other hand, green buildings that do not perform well, as a consequence of poor realisation
Thomas, L.E. & Vandenberg, M. 2007, '40 Albert Road, South Melbourne: Designing for Sustainable Outcomes-A Review of Design Strategies, Building Performance and Users' Perspectives', BEDP Environment Design Guide, vol. 3, no. CAS45, pp. 1-12.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
40 Albert Road, a refurbished 80's building, was the first building in Australia to achieve a 6-Star green star rating and 5 star NABERS water rating. Since re-opening in 2006 numerous awards have been won. 15 months after the refurbishment, Leena Thomas and Monica Vandenberg provide an in-depth review of the design process, building design, environmental performance and building occupants experience
Proponents of energy efficiency and sustainability in the built environment have always understood the importance of the facade as a key element for a building to achieve these aims. In recent times the multiple roles played by the facade in providing natural light, enhancing visual amenity and improving thermal comfort has come to the fore. This is in no small measure due to improvements in technology being achieved at low costs. A number of international and local buildings have demonstrated the effectiveness of a facade to resolve aesthetic priorities against performance requirements. These buildings stand apart from others in part because of the level of detail in the resolution of the facade, and its integration with the other building systems.
Thomas, L.E. 2012, 'Refurbishment for carbon reduction and occupant comfort: insights from the post occupancy evaluation of three office buildings' in Hyde, R., Groenhout, N., Barram, F. & Yeang, K. (eds), Sustainable Retrofitting of Commercial Buildings Warm Climates, Routledge, Oxon, pp. 425-452.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
This book chapter develops the case for retrofitting existing buildings drawing on insights from the post occupancy evaluation of three office building refurbishments of varying scales. It argues for a strategic approach to building refurbishment that recognizing the nexus between indoor environmental quality, building performance and energy efficiency and occupant satisfaction and productivity.
Thomas, L.E. 2010, 'Institute of Languages, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia' in Baird, G. (ed), Sustainable Buildings in Practice What the Users Think, Routledge, Milton Park and New York, pp. 243-252.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Thomas, L.E. & Baird, G. 2010, 'Torrent Research Centre, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India' in Baird, G. (ed), Sustainable Buildings in Practice What the Users Think, Routledge, Milton Park and New York, pp. 313-323.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
The Torrent Research Centre building in Ahmedabad was completed and fully occupied in 1997 as the new research facilities for Torrent Pharmaceuticals Ltd (Figure 31,1). The building design has achieved national awards including the 2000 JIIA-ANCHOR Award for excellence in Public Architecture as weJl as the Indian Architect and Builder 'Designing for Corporate Culture' Award 2004 and has been widely reported for its energy-efficient and passive solar design (Baird, 2001;Majumdar, 2001). Originally designed for 150 staff, the bUilding now accommodates over 300, some working in shifts (Figure 31.2),
Vandenberg, M. & Thomas, L.E. 2010, '40 Albert Road, South Melbourne, Australia' in George Baird (ed), Sustainable Buildings in Practice What the Users Think, Routledge, Milton Park and New York, pp. 223-232.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Thomas, L.E. 2009, 'Beyond Appearances: Integrating environmental performance in architectural design education' in Gu, N., Ostwald, M.J. & Williams, A. (eds), Computing, Cognition and Education Recent Research in Architectural Sciences, ANZAScA (Australian and New Zealand Architectural Science Association), Newcastle and Sydney, pp. 173-189.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
In response to concerns of climate change, the growing emphasis on sustainable architecture is matched by a plethora of regulatory codes and rating schemes that mandate or benchmark building environmental performance in many parts of the globe. In Australia, the Education and Sustaiuability Policies of the Australian Institute of Architects and accreditation processes of the Architects Accreditation Council of Australia (A..ACA) commit to implementing sustainable design practices across all its endeavours and reinforce the importance of this discipline area. Consequently, the inclusion of environmental studies and architectural science in some form or other within any architectural course has remained largely uncontested despite the pressure to curriculum content from an ever widening scope of professional architectural requirements. Nevertheless, a review of several papers on the pedagogical approaches and outcomes for environmental studies reveal consistent themes surrounding the compartmentalised approach to teaching these subjects in architectural courses, the desire to integrate environmental studies into studio teaching, and the need to make the discipline area more appealing to students (see AlA 2006, Rutherford 2006 and Loftness 2005).
Candido, C., Wang, S., Thomas, L., Zhang, F., Haddad, S. & Ye, W. 2017, 'Indoor environmental quality conditions in activity-based offices in green buildings', Passive Low Energy Architecture 2017 - Design to Thrive, Edinburgh, pp. 662-668.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Roggema, R. & Thomas, L.E. 2017, 'Critical mapping for transformational cities', Passive Low Energy Architecture 2017 - Design to Thrive, Network for Comfort and Energy Use in Buildings, Edinburgh, pp. 2823-2830.
Thomas, L.E. & Thomas, P.C. 2017, 'Realising Intentions: An evaluation of green building rating tools for Australian buildings', Passive Low Energy Architecture 2017 - Design to Thrive, Network for Comfort and Energy Use in Buildings, Edinburgh, pp. 542-549.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
With growing concerns for enhancing sustainability, much attention has being paid to benchmarking performance in buildings. This paper evaluates the effectiveness of three rating systems that have been widely adopted for over a decade in Australia namely: (i) mandatory compliance under Section J (Energy Efficiency provisions) in the National Construction Code of Australia (NCC), (ii) a voluntary design rating tool - Green Star, and (iii) a voluntary operational rating tool-National Australian Building Environmental Rating Scheme (NABERS).
The paper builds on the authors' experience in building performance simulation, rating tool design, practice consultancy and post occupancy evaluations of buildings. It presents a detailed analysis of the rating tools with respect to the alignment between what is being assessed, how it is assessed and administered and the impact on design process and performance outcomes in buildings. The paper assesses the successes and shortcomings of the rating tools to demonstrate the potential for design and post occupancy rating tools to influence market behaviour and building performance and argues for increasingly stringent approaches to get to net zero emissions.
Candido, C., Zhang, J., Kim, J., deDear, R., Thomas, L.E., Strapasson, P. & Joko, C. 2016, 'Impact of workspace layout on occupant satisfaction, perceived health and productivity', Proceedings of 9th Windsor Conference: Making Comfort Relevant, Windsor Conference, Network for Comfort and Energy Use in Buildings, Windsor, UK, pp. 1214-1225.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Rawal, R., Manu, S., Shukla, Y., Thomas, L.E. & Dedear, R. 2016, 'Clothing insulation as a behavioural adaptation for thermal comfort in Indian office buildings', Proceedings of 9th Windsor Conference: Making Comfort Relevant, Windsor Conference, Network for Comfort and Energy Use in Buildings, Windsor, pp. 403-415.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Thomas, L.E. 2015, 'Rethinking architecture as a catalyst for sustainability', LIVING AND LEARNING: RESEARCH FOR A BETTER BUILT ENVIRONMENT, International Conference of the Architectural Science Association, Architectural Science Association and the University of Melbourne, Melbourne, pp. 836-845.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
This paper proposes an alternate approach to considering the role of the architect against a backdrop of climate change, urban expansion and evolving technology, as the remit of architects is increasingly marginalized by other professions. Using the case study of architectural design studio investigations for the Master of Architecture at the University of Technology, Sydney on conflicted sites in Australia, the paper address the implications at two levels: 1. Opportunities where architecture and strategic urban interventions become catalysts for sustainable practices. 2. Insights and outcomes from this pedagogical approach to sustainable architectural design education. Developments on conflicted sites are laden with social, ethical, political and environmental concerns that intensify the environment and often contradict with sustainable development and intelligent environmental performance. The design studios explored in this paper challenge the traditional approach (in both academia and practice) of considering efficiency or technical building environmental performance in isolation. They offer opportunities for deploying design thinking in a strategic manner to develop resilient architecture in the context of climate change and current debates.
Manu, S., Shukla, Y., Rawal, R., Thomas, L.E., de Dear, R., Dave, M. & Vakharia, M. 2014, 'Assessment of Air Velocity Preferences and Satisfaction for Naturally Ventilated Office Buildings in India', 30th International PLEA Conference Sustainable Habitat For Developing Societies Choosing The Way Forward - Proceedings, Passive and Low Energy Architecture (PLEA) Annual International Conference, CEPT UNIVERSITY PRESS, Ahmedabad, India, pp. 411-418.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Thomas, L.E. 2014, 'Shifting the norm – towards effective mixed mode buildings', 30th International PLEA Conference Sustainable Habitat For Developing Societies Choosing The Way Forward - Proceedings, Passive and Low Energy Architecture (PLEA) Annual International Conference, CEPT UNIVERSITY PRESS, Ahmedabad, India, pp. 440-447.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
A mixed mode of operation, where supplementary air-conditioning is used only when indoor conditions ride outside the acceptable comfort range, can reduce the carbon footprint of the building. The paper uses four post occupancy studies of mixed mode building, two each from Australia and India to investigate successes and pitfalls. All four buildings succeeded in integrating a mixed mode of operation at a tectonic level, but feedback from the occupants was varied. The study showed that occupants can be forgiving of minor discomforts when other positive attributes are included, but the risk to performance is intensified when occupants perceive very little adaptive opportunity or problems are not rectified quickly. It identified a tolerance of higher temperatures in the Indian mixed mode buildings in contrast to the Australian experience where narrow limits serve to further entrench an expectation for airconditioning and generate an energy impost. The findings of this paper question year round airconditioning and challenge designers to rethink spatial and environmental opportunities in the context of the changing workplace when shifting the norm towards effective mixed mode buildings
Thomas, P.C., Venkatesan, A. & Thomas, L.E. 2014, 'Effective natural ventilation in modern apartment buildings', 30th International PLEA Conference Sustainable Habitat For Developing Societies Choosing The Way Forward - Proceedings, Passive and Low Energy Architecture (PLEA) Annual International Conference, CEPT UNIVERSITY PRESS, Ahmedabad, India, pp. 353-360.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
This paper addresses the challenge of evaluating for natural ventilation in modern apartment buildings. A number of natural ventilation design rules of thumb from published literature are listed. Their incorporation into one code for Australia (the Residential Flat Design Code, or RFDC) and India (the National Building Code, or NBC), in relation to apartment buildings is examined. Practical limitations to converting these rules of thumb into effective natural ventilation systems for apartment building designs are discussed. Apartment designs in the moderate locations of Sydney, Australia and Bengaluru, India are also reviewed to assess their effectiveness for natural ventilation. Simulation analysis presented indicate large energy savings are possible if apartments are retrofitted/designed to the proposed code requirements and designs compliant with thumb rules are capable of delivering effective natural ventilation if users choose to operate the apartment in 'free running mode during times when the outside dry bulb temperatures lie in an appropriate band. The paper also discusses how sub-optimal design solutions, affluence and adaptation to more stringent thermal conditions can negate the potential for natural ventilation and calls for proactive efforts to maintain climate responsive design standards and education/policy to encourage the benefits of natural ventilation over airconditioning.
Candido, C., de Dear, R., Thomas, L.E., Kim, J. & Parkinson, T. 2012, 'BOSSA - Building Occupants Survey System Australia', Website Proceedings: 46th Annual Conference of the Architectural Science Association, ANZAScA, Australian and New Zealand Architectural Science Association (ANZAScA) Annual Conference, Griffith University, Gold Coast, QLD, pp. 1-6.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE) is a process that allows designers, developers, owners, operators and tenants to objectively identify dysfunctional building services and design features, and highlight successful design. There is a need for an Australian POE instrument developed for Australian designers, building managers and researchers. The Building Occupants Survey System Australia - BOSSA - will provide for the first time, an Australian developed POE instrument, being a credible and more accessible Australian alternative to US and UK systems currently in use. The resultant database will serve as a renewable resource fostering the POE research field in Australia. Several POE questionnaires have been developed in various parts of the world, but probably the two best known are BUS in the UK, and CBE in the USA. These are currently the only two officially credited POE instruments within the National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) for commercial buildings. Unfortunately the BUS and CBE post-occupancy feedback questionnaires have evolved from UK and US office cultures and as a result, are less relevant to Australian building owners' needs. Furthermore, the UK and US databases are not accessible to Australian building science researchers, even though several Australian buildings have contributed their POE questionnaire data. But the most significant shortcoming of current generation POE systems is that they are largely descriptive, and are unable to specifically explain why a building's POE scores look the way they do, because no objective IEQ instrumental measurements were recorded alongside the POE questionnaires. Furthermore, the research potential of current generation POE benchmarking databases remains limited because scant details of building services and design features (building metrics) get recorded at the time of the POE. The overall aim of this BOSSA project is to develop a building performance evaluation process that will grow into an...
Thomas, L.E. & Thomas, P. 2010, 'Unravelling the mix - towards effective simulation, implementation and operation of mixed mode buildings', Proceedings of Conference: Adapting to Change: New Thinking on Comfort, Windsor Conference on Thermal Comfort, Network for Comfort and Energy Use in Buildings (NCEUB), Windsor, UK, pp. 1-16.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Notwithstanding the immense potential to minimise a building's carbon footprint, there is a very low uptake of mixed mode systems. This paper addresses issues concerning mixed mode buildings in Australian climates that vary from mild to warm/hot climates. The paper documents issues and barriers to the proper functioning of mixed mode buildings based on projects that the authors have reviewed, surveyed or consulted upon. The impact of rating tools and guidelines, limitations in performance prediction, operational issues in practice and insights from post occupancy feedback are discussed from the perspective of mixed mode buildings. Delivering mixed mode buildings via the current commercial processes increases the risk of the design intent not being carried through to completion. The paper identifies a need for comfort guidelines explicitly developed for mixed mode building in contrast to prevailing frameworks for air-conditioned buildings and offers strategies for rethinking comfort, simulation, implementation and operation of mixed mode buildings.
Thomas, L.E., de Dear, R., Rawal, R., Lall, A. & Thomas, P. 2010, 'Air Conditioning, Comfort and Energy in India's Commercial Building Sector', Proceedings of Conference: Adapting to Change: New Thinking on Comfort, Windsor Conference on Thermal Comfort, Network for Comfort and Energy Use in Buildings (NCEUB), Windsor, UK, pp. 1-12.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Before India's building sector can fulfil its CO2 abatement potential, it is imperative for new build projects, especially those which provide for commercial and public functions, to eschew the energy-intensive designs that characterized western commercial buildings of the 20th century. In the absence of an adaptive thermal comfort standard specifically for India's climatic and cultural context, the current trend is simply to design air- conditioned buildings to meet the stringent ASHRAE and ISO 'Class A' comfort specifications. This paper proposes a holistic Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE) study of a cross section of Indian office buildings purposively stratified across a range of energy intensities with diverse environmental control systems and design approach in different climatic zones to develop an adaptive thermal comfort standard. By climatically adapting indoor design temperatures, the standard will offer India a low-carbon development pathway for its commercial building sector without compromising overall comfort or productivity.
Thomas, L.E. 2009, '(Re)developing for Environmental Performance: Learning from the Occupants' Perspective', Passive and Low Energy Architecture (PLEA) Annual International Conference, Passive and Low Energy Architecture Annual International Conference, Les Presses de' l'Universite Laval, Quebec, Canada, Quebec City, Canada, pp. 465-471.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
This paper presents lessons for futu re buildings that can be learnt from a Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE) of the Stockland Head Office in Sydney. Designed to improve energy efficiency and workplace quality, the large scale ref urbishment within an existing building is noteworthy in the current climate where approx imately 98% of buildings are older stock that would require refurbishment at some point in the f uture. The study incorpo rales the Building Use Studies (BUS) methodology (to evaluate occupant satisfaction with the work environment and identifies factors that influence user experience in the context of design process and interventions. ongoing building management and building environmental performance. The results from the BUS survey are remarkably good with ....... the overall Summary Index in the top decile of the Australian building data set and top quartile of the International dataset. Outcomes of the study highlight the importance of increased fres h air, daylight, glare control, access to views, noise management and low volatile organic compound (VOC) finishes towards improving indoor environmental quality f or occupants. The positive results in terms of energy consumption and occupant feedback seen here reinforce the value of an integrated approach to building design, development and management that is responsive to user needs.
Boydell, S., Giurco, D., Rickwood, P., Glazebrook, G.J., Zeibots, M.E., White, S. & Thomas, L.E. 2009, 'Using integrated urban models to respond to climate change in cities', Fifth Urban Research Symposium on Cities and Climate Change Website: Responding to an Urgent Agenda, Urban Research Symposium on Cities and Climate Change: Responding to an Urgent Agenda, Urban Research Symposium, World Bank, Marseille, France, pp. 1-33.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
This paper presents a single, integrated urban model that focuses on the key areas of transport, domestic energy-use, and domestic water use and how these relate to urban planning and other policies. The model structure is spatial ½ requiring a sub-division of the urban region into disjoint sub-regions. Such a sub-division is necessary, not only because spatial information is essential to any transport model, but also because climatic and demographic factors are common to all resource models, and are spatially heterogeneous. The model is intended for use by local, regional, and state authorities, government departments, energy, and utility service companies as a modelling and decision support tool for analysing the impact on cities of a range of energy, water, transport, and land use related policies. In particular, it seeks to understand the impact - reductions possible at household and city scales. Growing awareness of the threats from climate change has focused attention on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and the need to reduce them. Using a sample analysis of Sydney, our on-going research collaboration seeks to examine the working relationships between multiple infrastructure sectors through a single analysis platform. The need to integrate policy for multiple infrastructures is critical given the multiple fronts on which the sustainability of urban systems are now jeopardised.
Thomas, L.E. 2008, 'Post occupancy evaluations - Insights for the next generation of green buildings', Sydney.
Thomas, L.E. 2008, 'The aesthetics of environmental performance - a pedagogical approach to architectural design', Australian and New Zealand Architectural Science Association (ANZAScA) Annual Conference - Innovation, Inspiration and Instruction: New Knowledge in the Architectural Sciences, Australian and New Zealand Architectural Science Association (ANZAScA) Annual Conference, University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia, Newcastle, NSW, Australia, pp. 377-384.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Rickwood, P., Giurco, D., Glazebrook, G.J., Kazaglis, A., Thomas, L.E., Zeibots, M.E., Boydell, S., White, S., Caprarelli, G. & McDougall, J. 2007, 'Integrating population, land-use, transport, water and energy-use models to improve the sustainability of urban systems', State of Australian Cities (SOAC) Conference, State of Australian Cities Conference, SOAC, Adelaide, pp. 314-324.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Thomas, L.E. 2006, 'Building for Strategic Advantage - Lessons from post-occupancy studies of low energy architecture in India', World Renewable Energy Congress IX Full Proceedings, World Renewable Energy Congress, Elsevier, Florence, Italy, pp. 1-6.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Thomas, L.E. & Baird, G. 2006, 'Post-occupancy evaluation of passive downdraft evaporative cooling and air-conditioned buildings at Torrent Research Centre, Ahmedabad, India', Australian and New Zealand Architectural Science Association (ANZAScA) Annual Conference - Challenges for Architectural Science in Changing Climates, Australian and New Zealand Architectural Science Association (ANZAScA) Annual Conference, The University of Adelaide and The Architectural Science Association ANZAScA, Adelaide, Australia, pp. 97-104.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Thomas, L.E. & Hall, M.R. 2004, 'Implementing ESD in Architectural Practice - An investigation of effective design Strategies and Environmental Outcomes', Passive and Low Energy Architecture (PLEA) Annual International Conference, Passive and Low Energy Architecture (PLEA) Annual International Conference, Technische Universiteit Eindhoven, Eindhoven, Netherlands, pp. 415-420.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
The implementation of ecologically sustainable design (ESD) is relatively low in the Australian building market, despite the availability of technical information and rating tools. A detailed case study of the architectural design process and building performance is undertaken to analyse how decisions are made for ESD and what strategies work best. The study findings highlight the importance of client commitment and awareness regarding ESD, a carefully considered briefing and design team selection process accompanied by tangible environmental criteria, and an integrated design approach that is cognisant of user needs. Further, post occupancy evaluation of the building demonstrates the importance of extending the integrated approach to responsive management of the building during its occupancy to ensure successful realisation of ESD objectives.
Lee, T., Lyons, P. & Thomas, L.E. 2001, 'Energy Efficiency of ACT Housing Stock: Monitored Results for Three New Dwellings', "Bringing Solar Down to Earth" ISES 2001 Solar World Congress Proceedings, "Bringing Solar Down to Earth" ISES 2001 Solar World Congress, Australian and New Zealand Solar Energy Society, Adelaide, Australia, pp. 1-10.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Thomas, L.E. 2000, 'A Study of an Energy Consumption Index Normalised for Area in House Energy Rating Schemes', 38th Annual Conference of the Australian and New Zealand Solar Energy Society, N/A, N/A, pp. 0-0.
Thomas, L.E. accessUTS 2013, Towards High Performance Buildings ASSESSMENT OF VARIABLES INFLUENCING PERCEIVED PRODUCTIVITY For MACQUARIE BANK TENANCIES, pp. 1-12, Sydney.
Thomas, L.E. University of Technology, Sydney 2012, Occupant's experience in retail shopping centres: Contract Research Project for Stockland Pty Ltd, Final Report - Post occupancy evaluation of Stockland Wetherill Park, Stockland Balgowlah and Stockland Merrylands, pp. 1-39, Sydney.
In a first for retail centres, this contract research project was undertaken to develop a post occupancy evaluation methodology for shoppers and retailers and assess three shopping centres for the Industry Partner. The insights from this study contribute to the formulation of strategies for the development and ongoing management of retail centres to enhance user experience and indoor environmental quality. The study has also served to elicit useful information about shopper and retailer preferences, their attitudes and behaviour with respect to environmental concerns ranging from energy efficiency to transport. In this respect, it points towards the opportunity for a more holistic post occupancy evaluation of urban precincts and community projects that are of increasing interest to Stockland.
Thomas, L.E. & Leaman, A. accessUTS Pty Ltd 2012, Occupants' Experiences at Macquarie Bank Tenancies, Stage 3: Variables influencing perceived productivity, pp. 1-39, Sydney.
Post occupancy evaluation of occupant experience in buildings is used to better understand relationships between green building, indoor environmental quality, occupant perception and satisfaction with workplace and their perceived productivity. This commercial-in-confidence research study draws on occupant survey data for 2591 respondents drawn from 6 datasets to identify what aspects of indoor environmental quality within surveyed buildings are correlated most highly with perceived productivity increases. It uses statistical methods to examine differences in occupant ratings for the study variables and identifies the key variables that explain changes in perceived productivity. 32 page report plus 3 appendices [Appendix I 18pp; Appendix II 124pp; Appendix III 260 pp]
Thomas, L.E. accessUTS 2011, Evaluation of Occupants' Experience at Macquarie Bank Tenancies Stage 2: Post Occupancy Study at One Shelley Street, pp. 1-58, Sydney.
This report provides the results for the evaluation of occupants' experience undertaken as part of the post occupancy studies in Stage 2 of an independent study to better understand the relationships between green building, indoor environmental quality, occupant perception and satisfaction with workplace and their worker productivity. The study draws on a multi methodological approach of occupant survey, focus groups site visits, and interviews with key stakeholders, and incorporated the Building Use Studies (BUS) survey that has been used to evaluate over 500 buildings in 17 countries including over 95 buildings in Australia. The study separately analysed the results for three cohorts based on their mode of working and location prior to move. The scale and scope of the study is unprecedented. In terms of occupants targeted, the study encompassed over 2600 at pre-occupancy phase to more 2800 employees in the post occupancy phase across the 3 study groups. A detailed comparative analysis of pre and post occupancy performance of the three study groups with respect to Australian and International benchmarks, key findings and implications for office design is provided in the report and accompanying appendices. The study results demonstrate a positive user experience at Shelley Street. All the three groups of building occupants studied returned positive results for user experience of overall air quality, air freshness and overall comfort, accompanied by an increase in perceived health and perceived productivity at Shelley Street in comparison to their previous locations.
Thomas, L.E. UTS 2011, Occupants' experience in retail shopping centres, pp. 1-80, Sydney.
The present study offers the opportunity to extend the well-established framework for PoE in office buildings to retail centres. The findings of this study can be used to help improve future design projects. The synthesis of the insights from the study will contribute to strategies for the development and ongoing management of retail centres to enhance user experience and indoor environmental quality. This research proposal aims to undertake a post occupancy evaluation of user experience at two Stockland shopping centres. A two stage approach was adopted. This report outlines Stage 1 - A pilot phase which aims to develop an appropriate approach for post occupancy evaluation in the Retail sector
Thomas, L.E. accessUTS 2009, Evaluation of Occupants' Experience at Macquarie Bank Tenancies Stage 1: Pre Occupancy Study at 20 Bond Street and 135 King Street, pp. 1-43, Sydney.
An independent study to better understand the relationships between green building, indoor environmental quality, occupant perception and satisfaction with workplace and their worker productivity is undertaken over two stages: Stage 1: Pre Occupancy reviews to establish the benchmarking at current premises of Macquarie Bank at 20 Bond Street and 135 King Street. Stage 2: Post Occupancy assessment will occur about one year after occupancy (or at a time or times as considered appropriate by the clients) at One Shelley Street. This report provides the results for the evaluation of occupants' experience (incorporating the Building Use Studies Survey and Focus Groups) undertaken as part of the pre occupancy studies in Stage 1. The study separately analysed the results for three cohorts based on their mode of working and location prior to move. In addition to the planned assessment of the performance of the newly acquired premises, and its comparison to Australian benchmarks (Stage 2), the results of Stage 1 presented here provide a valid set of internal benchmarks against which the user experience of the new premises at One Shelley Street can be compared.
Vandenberg, M. & Thomas, L.E. 2009, Post Occupancy Evaluation - Site Summary Report GreenHouse Level 15 179 Elizabeth St. Sydney, pp. 1-14.
Post Occupancy Evaluation review of Green Building Council of Australia Headquarters (GreenHouse) and its occupants at 179 Elizabeth Street. The objectives of the review were to; measure how staff perceived their working environment including satisfaction of the current facilities; compare the responses to the Pre-Occupancy Evaluation conducted by the authors in the previous year; and to benchmark this building against the Australian dataset.
Leaman, A., Thomas, L.E. & Vandenberg, M. Building Use Studies Ltd 2008, Occupant survey of CH2, pp. 1-23.
Thomas, L.E. accessUTS 2008, Pre and Post Occupancy Evaluation of Stockland Head Office: Levels 2 & 22-29, 133 Castlereagh Street, Sydney, pp. 1-30, Sydney.
This report summarises the outcomes of field research to develop a narrative of building performance through the contextual analysis of design attributes and building management in tandem with metrics for energy and occupant satisfaction for the Stockland Head Office.
Thomas, L.E. & Vandenberg, M. 2008, Pre and Post Occupancy Evaluation Green Building Council of Australia Head Office Stage 1: Level 4 249 Pitt Street Sydney, pp. 1-9.
9 page report in addition to appendices A pre-occupancy evaluation of the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) tenancy at Level 4 249 Pitt Street Sydney was undertaken as part of a Pre and Post Occupancy Evaluation Study for the GBCA. This report provides the summary findings of the first stage of this study and outlines the results of user experience of the Pitt Street tenancy.
Vandenberg, M., Thomas, L.E. & Leaman, A. Encompass Sustainability 2007, Post Occupancy Evaluation: CH2- Site Summary Report, pp. 1-15, Melbourne.
Thomas, L.E. accessUTS 2006, Pre and Post Occupancy Evaluation of the Stockland Headquarters Tenancy, 157 Liverpool St - Stage 1, pp. 1-11, Sydney.
An evaluation of occupant experience using the Building Use Studies survey was undertaken for Stockland Headquarters tenancy at 157 Liverpool Street. The study comprises the first stage of the pre and post occupancy evaluation being undertaken as part of the relocation of Stockland Headquarters to its new premises at Stockhome, Castlereagh St. The main purpose of this stage of the study is to provide an internal benchmark for comparison once the new tenancy is commissioned and occupied.
This report outlines accessUTS feedback and recommendations to the concept designs of the proposed Sustainability Display House at Parklea.
Thomas, L.E. & Tarlo, K. Institute of Sustainable Futures 2002, SCOPING STUDY FOR TEMPLATE AND TRAINING PACKAGE DEVELOPMENT FOR HOME ENERGY AUDIT, pp. 1-39, Sydney.
Home Energy Audit Pty Ltd (HEA) aims to provide homeowners âwith the knowledge to optimise their living environment as a greener, more efficient and healthier homeâ. HEA wishes to implement a Home Energy Audit service for Australian homeowners in response to its research that âthe concept has very high mainstream appeal (up to 85% of household owners find the product attractive) given the compelling pay back in energy efficiencyâ. The Home Energy Audit is envisaged as a staged process of an on-site data collection and assessment, followed by a written report providing evaluation and recommendations for improvement. Collected data and recommendations are proposed to be held in a relational database to allow quality monitoring, verify results and update auditing system. The Home Energy Audit is proposed to be offered as a Stand Alone Audit, and also as part of a bundle of solutions including Material Specification and Energy Efficient Product Installation Services that consumers can customize to their needs. HEA has approached the Faculty of Design Architecture and Building, University of Technology, Sydney to undertake a scoping study Âto establish the nature and scope of an appropriate Template and Training programme for Auditors, Âa study of opportunities for HEA in the competitive retail energy market and consequent implications for Template and Training program development