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This paper presents results of a long-term field study with a large number of human test-subjects, aiming to advance our understanding of (a) occupant interactions with shading and electric lighting control systems; and (b) their preferences and satisfaction with the visual environment.

To investigate the impact of environmental control on occupant comfort, satisfaction level and subjective productivity, four identical side-by-side offices with different control setups and interfaces, ranging from fully automated to fully manual and from low-level of accessibility (wall switches) to high-level of accessibility (remote controllers or modular web interfaces) were selected for the purpose of this study. The experimental study includes monitoring of physical variables, actuation and operating status of building systems and online surveys of occupants' perception of environmental variables as well as their personal characteristics and attributes.

Compared to previous studies conducted in buildings with non-motorized blinds and artificial lights without dimming options, our results show significant differences in dynamics and frequency of human-shading and –electric lighting interactions for buildings equipped with this advanced technology. These dynamics result in similar occupant lighting preferences in offices with wall switches and web-interfaces but with differences in daylight utilization and thus, energy impact. Moreover, it was found that comfort with the amount of light and visual conditions, satisfaction with window view and subjective productivity are all maximized in office setups that provide access to control and occupants are comfortable with a wider range of indoor illuminance when they have control over their environment.