Any Designed Environment

Experiencing Dynamic Lighting (04-28-17)

Pedersen and Johansson investigated how motion activated street lights influence pedestrian behavior.  They found that participants in their study of motion activated lights in a simulated outdoor environment “walked significantly slower under [initially] dimmed than static lighting conditions, even after the illuminance had increased. . . . The effect was seen both before and after the increase to full light.

Another Reason to Design to Encourage Stairway Use (04-27-17)

Using the stairs instead of an elevator helps us keep trim and saves energy—and stairway design and placement, for instance, can boost the likelihood we’ll take the stairs.  New research supplies another reason to encourage stair use via design – we feel energized after walking up and down stairs.  Investigators have found that “10 minutes of walking up and down stairs at a regular pace was more likely to make participants feel energized than ingesting 50 milligrams of caffeine-about the equivalent to the amount in a can of soda. . . . [Patrick J.

More Information on the Energizing Effects of Blue Light (04-20-17)

A team lead by Heo has found more evidence that seeing blue light, particularly at night, is energizing.  The researchers “investigated the immediate effects of smartphone blue light LED on humans at night. . . . Each subject played smartphone games with either conventional LED or suppressed blue light from 7:30 to 10:00PM (150 min). Then, they were readmitted and conducted the same procedure with the other type of smartphone. . . . use of blue light smartphones was associated with significantly decreased sleepiness . . . and confusion-bewilderment . . . and increased commission error.”

Bin Placement Affects Recycling and Composting Behavior (04-19-17)

DiGiacomo lead a study that assessed how the location of recycling and composting bins influences their use.  Details: “[the researchers] placed bins in three different locations: a garbage disposal area (the least convenient option), at the base of an elevator in a building (a more convenient option), and by elevator doors on each floor (the most convenient option). The experiments were carried out at three multi-family apartment buildings in Vancouver’s west side neighbourhood and in two student residence buildings at UBC. . . .

Communicating by Smell (04-17-17)

De Groot, Semin, and Smeets provide additional information about how scents influence how we interact with each other.  Since current, generally available, technologies do not support human communication via smells, face-to-face meetings will remain important for the foreseeable future.  As de Groot and his team report “Humans use multiple senses to navigate the social world, and the sense of smell is arguably the most underestimated one.  An intriguing aspect of the sense of smell is its social communicative function.  Research has shown that human odors convey information about a range of

Thermal Comfort Tool from the CBE (04-13-17)

At the web address below, the Center for the Built Environment at Berkeley shares a free tool for evaluating thermal comfort.

As the web page introducing the tool states, the CBE’s objectives were, in part, to “Develop a web-based graphical user interface for thermal comfort prediction according to ASHRAE Standard 55. Include models for conventional building systems (predicted mean vote) and also for comfort using the adaptive comfort model, and with increased air speeds (for example, when using fans for cooling).”

Visibility and Green Behavior (04-05-17)

Brick, Sherman and Kim studied when people were more or less likely to behave in pro-environmental ways.  They determined that “When an environmentalist considers a pro-environmental behavior such as carrying reusable grocery bags, being observed by others . . .  may increase behavior (‘green to be seen’). When an anti-environmentalist considers a pro-environmental behavior . . . being observed may lead to less behavior (‘brown to keep down’). . . . antienvironmentalists do behave in ways that help the environment, especially in private. . . .


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