In our December newsletter, we put the spotlight on Dr. Stefano Schiavon, one of our Interdisciplinary Team members.  We also feature his interview here on our website.

Stefano Schiavon, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Architecture at UC Berkeley and a researcher at the Center for the Built Environment (CBE). With a background in mechanical engineering and energy, his research and teaching focus on increasing buildings’ indoor environmental quality and energy efficiency, and reducing impact on the global environment and on people – keeping in mind that the indoor environment significantly influences health, well-being, and safety during work.

Dr. Schiavon was a contributor of the 2011 CBE Building Occupant Satisfaction Survey, which measured satisfaction of fifteen environmental factors. The study included 351 buildings, and 52,890 occupants.  Findings show that all fifteen factors measured in the study play a role in occupant satisfaction including amount of space, noise level, visual privacy, and air quality, respectively (shown in Figure 1).

These findings indicate the relevance of Stefano’s research on improving air quality in the workplace in an energy efficient way. He has worked on a number of projects related to air quality; in December 2016 he released a publication detailing the results of a tracking fan – which locates the occupant, determines the direction of air flow, and calculates the occupant-fan distance. The system provides more comfort with less power. (Liu S, Yin L, Ho WK, Ling KV, Schiavon S. 2016). Stefano has also created an algorithm for clothing insulation as a function of indoor and outdoor temperatures, which allows buildings to regulate temperature more efficiently (Schiavon S., Lee K., 2013). His research on thermal comfort is a big player in improving workplace satisfaction and building efficiency.

Stefano has been an interdisciplinary team member since 2014 and his research and knowledge in the area of air quality and built environment has helped inform our own research and is helping us develop an assessment tool and inventory of workplace solutions. For example, results from the CBE survey indicate that “amount of space” is an ambiguous parameter among individuals, which begs the question — does amount of space mean physical square feet, or the psychological perception of space?  HealthyWorkplaces hopes to further investigate these questions.

Stefano is an invited speaker to the Health and Well-Being Strategy Conference for Business Leaders at UC Berkeley on February 1-3, 2017.  He will provide expert knowledge on air quality and building sustainability and start discussions on how this intersects with Health and Well-Being.

Figure 1 – CBE Building Occupant Satisfaction Survey Odds Ratios