Shane Hess O'Neil collective works c. 2006 – 2014



(in progress since August 2013, Master of Science Thesis, University of Oregon School of Architecture & Allied Arts)

Conceptual Framework DRAFTv3

The importance of individual lighting use behaviors in regards to energy efficiency and environmental quality is overwhelmingly highlighted in the literature, but architects have few tools in their repertoire to grapple with these facts.

The results of many studies illustrate how and when individuals may use electric lighting and daylight controls but focus on transient aspects of the environment that are not readily translated into architecture design or related to the spatial environment, such as luminance and illuminance values, discomfort sensations, specification of luminaire, lamp, or lighting control type, and personal norms. As a result, these findings provide little practical knowledge that can directly contribute to the practice of architectural design or improve the behavioral outcomes of lighting design. Even in buildings designed to reduce energy use and improve environmental quality by using daylight and reducing sources of visual discomfort, people still frequently use electric lighting during daylight hours. To ameliorate this issue, architects, engineers, and building managers often choose to remove control from the users, replacing it instead with automated lighting and building control systems. This choice often results in overly complex control mechanisms, dissatisfied users, manual overrides, and even increased energy consumption (Moore et al., 2002; Reinhart and Voss, 2003). In response to this dilemma, the Guidebook on Energy Efficient Electric Lighting for Buildings proposes a simple set of functional requirements, and thus design and research imperatives, for lighting control schemes, “the occupant needs to control the system…the occupant need to understand the system…the lighting control system must be easy to use,” (Halonen et al., 2010). Further, the push to empower occupants to use their environment and resources more efficiently, rather than disempower them by removing their control over their environment, is an important shift in the relationship between designer and user and between user and environment. “The indoor environment can be considered a ‘creative achievement’ shaped by the interaction of building inhabitants with control systems in response to changing external conditions and the changing needs of inhabitants,” (Cole et al., 2010).

OCCU plan DRAFT glare response dt

This study, therefore, investigates the relationship between the spatial and lighting environments and the behaviors that individuals exhibit within them. The intent of this study is to demonstrate effective means to evaluate the impact of spatial and lighting design on lighting use behaviors and to provide actionable guidelines for the design of daylit workspace environments. The main questions guiding this research are:

What spatial, environmental, and social cues influence individual electric lighting use behaviors?

How does the design of the daylit workspace environment reinforce high electric lighting use or support low electric lighting use?

The conceptual framework for this study, shown above, describes the interaction of spatial, social, perceptual, and cognitive mechanisms that is supported in the literature. This conceptual framework establishes a way to break down the social, personal, and spatial factors that contribute to lighting use.  It can be seen that while the schema, or the perceived environment, is different from the physical environment it nevertheless directly influences the physical environment in a cyclical manner through the behavioral responses that are carried out within the real space. In this regard, developing a spatial schema enables the individual to actively engage with and effect their environment (Tversky, 2003). The usefulness of the schema, in terms of generating positive environmental and energy outcomes, thus depends on it’s initial fit with the physical environment and the clarity of the behavioral feedback that is produced within the physical environment (Norman, 1990; Tromp et al., 2011; Bhamra et al., 2011). Individual motivations, experiences, knowledge, environmental awareness and intentions, herein described as the social environment, are expected to partially mediate the influence of the physical environment and environmental cues on the spatial schema. Some misalignment between environment, perception and behavior is expected due to the mediating effect of the social environment. That misalignment could be rather consequential however, in terms of its impact on energy consumption and indoor environmental quality. The relationship between the social and physical environment is described above in regards to the ability of an individual to pick-up a particular environmental cue and accounts for the diversity of behaviors exhibited within a particular environment. If the spatial and environmental cues that influence lighting use behaviors can be discovered, then it will be possible to create new design guidelines that either capitalize on or change the existing schemas people have created to support the use of daylight in lieu of electric lighting in office environments.

South windows HDRA multiple-research methods approach will be used to triangulate the relationships between social, environmental, and spatial factors and characterize their influence on actual lighting use behaviors. The full thesis study will include multiple detailed studies, conducted in parallel, of the electric lighting use behaviors of individuals within daylit, perimeter offices in a LEED certified office building in the Pacific Northwest. I have conducted a preliminary study to elucidate the relationship between the social environment and spatial schematizations of an individual within their workspace environment and evaluate which qualitative methods can be used as part of the multiple-research methods. In order to better triangulate the multiple factors influencing the spatial schema and lighting use behaviors, discourse and spatial attributes analysis were based on multiple qualitative data sources including a questionnaire and semi-structured interview with the subject and observations and documentation of the individual’s workspace. For these purposes, qualitative methods were used to uncover an individual’s environmental and professional values, perception and assessment of their environment, reported behaviors or modifications, and observed behavioral use patterns within the workspace environment. The results of this study indicate that while there were numerous, often disparate, influences on the subject’s behavior, the incidence of glare from daylight was a consistent determining factor in both the salience of her reactions and motivations to modify her environment, particularly in the use of daylighting controls. Many of the spatial, environmental, and social cues that influence lighting use were found to conflict and lead an individual to create multiple dissimilar conceptualizations of a space and its associated lighting qualities.

South windows FCRThe use of this ensemble of methods, questionnaire, interview, and observations, and their interpretation using a discourse and spatial attributes analysis seems a good fit to identify more specific issues within the lighting environment. Further observations of the actual behavior of the informant within her workspace as well as more detailed characterization and monitoring of both the indoor environmental qualities (indoor/outdoor illuminance, solar radiation, lighting and occupancy state) and spatial attributes would be necessary to draw any conclusions about the relative significance of each of these determining factors.