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Unit of study_

DESC9201: Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ)

Humans' thermal, visual, auditory and olfactory senses determine the perceived quality of a built environment. This unit analyses built environments in context of these human factors. This unit relates human experience of buildings to the main dimensions of Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ): thermal, acoustic, lighting and indoor pollution. This understanding of human comfort perceptions is contextualised by an understanding of the various approaches to the evaluation of built environmental performance. You will study post-occupancy evaluation tools and workplace productivity metrics. Regulations from Australia and abroad will be explored to understand their impact on acoustics, thermal comfort, lighting, indoor air quality and ventilation. The unit also pays particular attention to sustainability rating tools from around the world, including GreenStar, NABERS, LEED and BREEAM. This unit gives students extensive hands-on experience in laboratory- and field-based methods of IEQ research and building diagnostics. A recurring theme will be instrumental measurements of indoor environments, and how they can be analysed in relation to perceptual and behavioural data collected from occupants of those environments.


Academic unit Architectural and Design Science
Unit code DESC9201
Unit name Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ)
Session, year
Semester 2, 2020
Attendance mode Block mode
Location Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney
Credit points 6

Enrolment rules

Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff and contact details

Coordinator Richard de Dear,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Assignment IEQ Experiment Report
Due date: 23 Nov 2020 at 23:59
7 A4 pages incl. figs, tabs, refs, abstr
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8
Assignment IEQ Essay
Select essay topic from list of options (see Canvas site)
40% Week 06
Due date: 28 Sep 2020 at 23:59
7 A4 pages (incl. figs, tabs, refs)
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6 LO7

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100

Work of outstanding quality, demonstrating mastery of the learning outcomes
assessed. The work shows significant innovation, experimentation, critical
analysis, synthesis, insight, creativity, and/or exceptional skill.


75 - 84

Work of excellent quality, demonstrating a sound grasp of the learning outcomes
assessed. The work shows innovation, experimentation, critical analysis,
synthesis, insight, creativity, and/or superior skill.


65 - 74

Work of good quality, demonstrating more than satisfactory achievement of the
learning outcomes assessed, or work of excellent quality for a majority of the
learning outcomes assessed.


50 - 64

Work demonstrating satisfactory achievement of the learning outcomes


0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Special consideration

If you experience short-term circumstances beyond your control, such as illness, injury or misadventure or if you have essential commitments which impact your preparation or performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 1. Introduction; 2. Human sensory responses; 3. Indoor air quality and the factors affecting it; 4. Thermal comfort background and fundamentals; 5. Thermal comfort: physiological principles Online class (7 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4 LO6 LO8
Week 03 1. Visual comfort, fatigue and health; 2. Lighting and productivity; 3. Introduction to acoustics and challenges for sustainable building design; 4. Sustainable acoustic design in practice Online class (7 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO5 LO6 LO7
Week 06 1. Indoor air quality and ventilation; 2. Strategies and methodologies to investigate indoor environment quality; 3. Thermal comfort models - PMV/PPD and Adaptive Models Online class (7 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8
Week 07 1. Assessing indoor environment quality performance in buildings; 2. Indoor environment quality and productivity; 3. COVID-19 and the built environment 4. Briefing for session for IEQ Lab experiments and assignment Online class (7 hr) LO1 LO2 LO6 LO8
Week 08 1. Thermal Comfort Experiments (IEQ Lab); 2. Lighting Experiments (Lighting Lab); 3. Acoustics Experiment (Spatial Audio Lab) Science laboratory (8 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4 LO7

Attendance and class requirements

Please refer to the Resolutions of the University School:

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

Bluyssen, Philomena M. (2009) The Indoor Environment Handbook: How to Make Buildings Healthy and Comfortable, Earthscan Press. ISBN 978-1-84407-787-8

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University’s graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. understand the fundamental principles of acoustics, air quality, thermal environments and illumination within built environments
  • LO2. understand the significance of IEQ within the commercial building context of performance measurement
  • LO3. understand the principles of measurement of indoor environmental parameters (objective IEQ)
  • LO4. understand the principles of measurement of occupant ratings of indoor environmental parameters (subjective IEQ)
  • LO5. analyse and interpret subjective IEQ ratings in relation to objective IEQ parameters
  • LO6. demonstrate skills in critical thinking and critical analysis of evidence
  • LO7. critically evaluate cause and effect relationships between objective IEQ parameters and subjective IEQ parameters
  • LO8. demonstrate skills in synthesising and effectively communicating technical information across the multiple disciplines comprising the IEQ domain.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities
New content on COVID-19 and the built environment has been added


Additional costs


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Work, health and safety

University COVID-19 safety guidelines will be applied to the conduct of Day 5 experiments in the IEQ Lab, the Spatial Audio Lab, and the Lighting Lab.


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