Occupant perception of “green” buildings: Distinguishing physical and psychological factors
Abstract Studies have found a preference bias for “environmentally friendly” or “green” artifacts and buildings. For example, indoor environments are more favorably viewed when the building is labeled/certified “green”, in comparison with one that is not labeled/certified, even though the two environments are actually identical. The present study explored how physical properties of the indoor environment (high vs. low temperature) and labeling (“green” vs. “conventional”) interacts in their effect on environment perception. Participants performed a series of tasks in four indoor environments with different labels (low vs. high carbon footprint) and different temperatures (23 °C vs. 28 °C). Label and temperature were manipulated orthogonally. The participants' environmental concern was also measured. The environmentally concerned participants assigned higher thermal acceptance and satisfaction scores to the environment labeled “low carbon footprint” (i.e., “green” certified) compared to the environment labeled “high carbon footprint” (i.e., not “green” certified), but only in the cooler thermal environment. Environmentally indifferent participants' perception of the environment did not differ depending on label or room temperature. The results suggest that a “green” label positively influence the perception of the indoor environment for occupants, but only when the temperature is within the acceptable range as proposed in guidelines for “green” buildings. Highlights A “green” room is preferred even when it is identical to a non-green control room. The magnitude of the preference for “green” buildings depends on room temperature. Higher environmental concern was associated with a greater preference bias.
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