Analysis of the Indoor Environmental Quality of Offices in Penang Island

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CHAPTER FIVE

CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION

  1. Introduction

This chapter concludes the finding and results obtained from the entire research. Wise and related recommendations will be provided to advice on improvements in the case studies from analysis. Besides, this chapter will conclude the whole research. Possible routes for future study will be provided to improve the limitation of the study.

  1. Conclusion

In here, the summary and conclusion of all the findings and discussion of the basic approach on the indoor environmental quality and the prevalence of sick building syndrome in selected offices in Penang Island. The purposes of this study were to study the effect of various indoor environmental quality parameters on sick building syndrome symptoms and to understand the requirements of occupants on the quality of indoor environment for the offices. This research is done in correspond to the objectives, thus a few key conclusions according to the objectives will be made in this chapter.

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The first objective is to determine the current indoor environmental quality of the selected offices in Penang Island. This objective has been attained. Six case studies were being selected according to office size. Permission and cooperation was given by the management department of all case studies to conduct some indoor environmental quality assessment within. The results are tabulated in Table 4.1. Discussion on the result is also made in Chapter 4.

The second objective is to study the comfort level of occupants regarding indoor environmental quality in selected offices in Penang Island. The second objective had accomplished. Electronic questionnaire surveys were conducted and all of the occupants within all of the case studies are the target to fill in the questionnaire. 100% of response rate is being achieve with the help of management departments of the case studies. In total, 60 responses are received. The result is tabulated in 4.21. The results were analysed in mean value to determine the comfort level of the occupants regarding various indoor environmental parameters. The result shows that the occupants are quite satisfy in overall on the current indoor environmental quality within the case studies, which acts as their offices. However, respondents also express various dissatisfaction on certain indoor environmental parameter according to case study. The analysis and discussion about it are made in Chapter 4.

The third objective is to investigate the level of sick building syndrome faced by occupants in selected offices in Penang Island. The third objective has been achieved by the electronic questionnaire, too. As stated above, all of the occupants within all of the case studies are the target to fill in the questionnaire. 100% of response rate or 60 sets of response is also being achieve. The result is tabulated in 4.22. The results were analysed in mean value of the level of various symptoms of sick building syndrome that is suffered by the occupants within the case studies. The result shows that most of the occupants feel drowsy and fatigue when they work within the case studies. Besides, due to the differences between the indoor environmental quality of the buildings, the occupants are suffered from different symptoms of the sick building syndrome. The interesting part that is found in this study is that the sick building syndrome symptoms that are faced by the occupants in high temperature differ much from the previous research. The occupants suffer from the symptoms that is stated to be faced when the temperature is lower in previous research. Detail analysis and discussion about this can be seen in Chapter 4.

Lastly, the fourth objective is to establish the recommendation to optimize the indoor environmental quality of the selected offices in Penang Island. This objective had also been accomplished. The proposed recommendations to optimize the building maintenance management service of both investigated bus terminals for improvement in occupant satisfaction were given in Element 5.3.

  1. Recommendations to Optimize the Indoor Environmental Quality of the Selected Offices
  1. Management Control Approach (Occupational Safety and Health Administration U.S. Department of Labor, 2011)

It is always an ideal if that building owners or management department can develop and implement an indoor environmental quality management plan to address, inhibit and settle any problem regarding indoor environmental quality in their buildings. The management department can allocate an indoor environmental quality coordinator in each department or in their building to inspect their building. The indoor environmental quality coordinator will be responsible for overseeing all of the parameters of the indoor environmental quality within the building to ensure the comfort of as many occupants as possible.

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The specific responsibilities of the indoor environmental quality coordinator are listed by Ladun (2011) as follows:

  • Receive complaints from the occupants and make the wise and reasonable alternation.
  • Patrol the building frequently and initiate remedial measures.
  • Serve as an information source to maintain good indoor environmental quality of the building.
  • Establish necessary indoor environmental quality policies and ensure the occupants obey to it.
  1. Engineering controls (Occupational Safety and Health Administration U.S. Department of Labor, 2011)
    1. Ventilation System

All of the case studies are equipped with the central HVAC system. The system must be properly designed or bought with care, operated, and maintained. As a good HVAC system can help to reduce the pollution or environmental problem in the building which can impact on human health. Besides, a well-designed HVAC system helps to control temperature and relative humidity levels in optimum level.

  1. Air Cleaning

The cleaning of HVAC system is a regular routine to make sure that the building is health as the filtration inside the mechanical unit of HVAC system will trap the dirt off of coil surfaces to promote heat transfer efficiency. If the unit is equipped and left without care, the air supply diffusers will create smudging in a ceiling. The smudge contain of dirt particles which will cultivate the growth of mould or other bacteria as it contain high humidity.

  1. Administration Controls (Occupational Safety and Health Administration U.S. Department of Labor, 2011)
    1. Work Schedule

A worker that have scheduling techniques should be able to go home on time. Manager or boss should ensure that his workers did not always work overtime. This can eliminate or reduce the chance the worker to expose to bad indoor environmental quality. Besides, the tools or machines that will create uncomfortable noise or pollutants should be located from the workers.

  1. Education

Education of building occupants regarding indoor environmental quality is essential to maintain good quality within the office. With the occupants that understand the information about the various parameters of indoor environmental quality and its effects on human health, they will be careful or aware of themselves in the future.

  1. Recommendations for Future Research

Serving as a fundamental research, there was some recommendations are to be proposed for future research in this related field of study. A few add-points are to be noted to enhance the findings:

  1. Focus on only one type of indoor environmental parameter and study its effect on various symptoms of sick building syndrome. By this, the most influential parameter for certain symptom can be viewed easier and in detail.
  2. The qualitative approach of interview can be used to collect the information about the comfort level of indoor environmental quality and the level of sick building syndrome suffered by occupants directly.
  3. Use middle or large offices instead of the small office. By increase the population size of the respondents, more reliable results which represent the entire population can be obtained.
  4. Besides offices, other places such as schools, commercial buildings or even residential buildings can be used as case studies. Different type of building might give different result regarding the comfort level and sick building syndrome level.