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News release

Chicago, IL

Easy lighting, temperature controls bring the employee experience out of the shadows

New JLL-Purdue University research shows business value of individual choice in the office

CHICAGO, Nov. 2, 2017 – When it comes to workplace comfort, researchers at Purdue University are proving the theory that one size doesn't fit all—and control makes a difference. New research from Purdue University's Center for High Performance Buildings, (CHPB) sponsored by JLL, shows having personal control of your workspace, such as lighting and temperature, improves overall workplace productivity and engagement.

"We're looking for new data-driven insights and tools to help clients make informed, strategic business decisions about their facilities," said Leo O'Loughlin, Senior Director, JLL Energy & Sustainability Services. "Studies like this create real-world scenarios and data that we can bring to clients to help them create better workplaces for their employees." 

In a two-year study, Purdue and JLL are exploring the effect of customizable indoor environmental conditions on building energy consumption and employee productivity and satisfaction. The goal is to use data related to individual workplace preferences to create smart building technologies.

The power of the 'easy way'

To gather data, researchers installed workplace sensors to measure temperature, light levels and occupant actions as participants engaged in a regular eight-hour workday. One group of workers used customizable desktop computer controls, designed by the Purdue researchers, to control light and temperature. Separately, another group worked in an office with standard wall-mounted thermostat and lighting controls.

The researchers found that the workers who could easily adjust room lighting and temperature from their computers were more engaged than those using the wall-mounted controls. They used less building energy by relying more on daylight than on artificial lighting. With light and temperature just right, these participants also reported higher levels of productivity and performed better in cognitive tests than the control group. 

"We are developing algorithms that can learn occupant preferences accurately and efficiently," said Panagiota Karava, an Associate Professor in Civil Engineering and a CHPB researcher. "By giving people the choice to use more daylight and feel more connected to the outdoor environment, you can optimize productivity and use less energy."

In its first year, the research team has created a system for collecting relevant data and an algorithm that can accurately create individualized employee profiles. In the second year, the researchers will implement prototype algorithm-based software in actual office environments.

One of 13 JLL-CHPB research projects, the controllable environment study is collecting data from more than 200 participants in private and open-plan offices in an on-campus living laboratory. Each private office has dimmable electric lights, motorized shades and a variable air volume system.

About Purdue University Center for High Performance Buildings

Founded in 2013, the CHPB has quickly emerged as a leader in the smart building innovation space. Its mission is to partner with industry to develop, demonstrate, and evaluate new technologies and analysis tools that can enable dramatic improvements in the performance of buildings in terms of energy, environmental impact, and occupant satisfaction and productivity. Supported by partnerships with industry leaders, the CHPB's multi-disciplinary approach includes experts in mechanical, civil and electrical engineering, as well as specialists in psychology and human behavior.

About JLL

JLL (NYSE: JLL) is a leading professional services firm that specializes in real estate and investment management. A Fortune 500 company, JLL helps real estate owners, occupiers and investors achieve their business ambitions. In 2016, JLL had revenue of $6.8 billion and fee revenue of $5.8 billion and, on behalf of clients, managed 4.4 billion square feet, or 409 million square meters, and completed sales acquisitions and finance transactions of approximately $145 billion. At the end of the second quarter of 2017, JLL had nearly 300 corporate offices, operations in over 80 countries and a global workforce of nearly 80,000. As of June 30, 2017, LaSalle Investment Management had $57.6 billion of real estate under asset management. JLL is the brand name, and a registered trademark, of Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated. For further information, visit