Cornell University Ergonomics Web


DEA 3500: HUMAN FACTORS: Ambient Environment

Fall 2016

Instructor:  Alan Hedge, 2415 Martha Van Rensselaer Hall
Phone: 607-255-1957  Mobile: 607-227-1728
Office Hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10:00pm - 11:00am or by appointment

T.A.: Gourab Kar, 4110 Martha Van Rensselaer Hall,
Phone: 832-732-3411
Office Hours: By appointment in DEA  grad office 4110 MVR

Credit: 3 units
Room:  MVR G71
Time: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 8:40am - 9:55am

Required Texts (choose 1 or more):

1) Lehto, M.R. & Landry, S.J. (2013) Introduction to Human Factors and Ergonomics for Engineers 2nd Edition, CRC Press.
(Note: This book but gives a foundation to the discipline and it is also a required text for DEA3510. Some of the HW questions may be based on information in this book).

2) Bridger, R. S. (2008). Introduction to Ergonomics, 3rd ed. CRC Press, New York and London.
(Note: This is more recent book that is less comprehensive on the foundations of the discipline but also more expansive. Buying a second-hand copy or one from a bookstore such as from Amazon may be the least expensive way to obtain this book. NOTE: The book is very 'English'. Some of the HW questions may be based on information in this book. This book is also a required text for DEA3510).

3) Sanders, M.M. & McCormick, E.J. (1993) Human Factors in Engineering & Design 7th ed., McGraw-Hill, NY.
(Note: This is an old book but still gives the best foundation to the discipline and is used for the professional certifying examination. Buying a second-hand copy or one from a bookstore such as from Amazon may be the least expensive way to obtain this book. NOTE: You do need the 7th Edition and not an earlier edition. Some of the HW questions may be based on information in this book. This book is also a required text for DEA3510).

Indoor Air Quality readings:

Recommended Text (for further interest)

Hedge, A. 2016. Ergonomic Workplace Design for Health, Wellness, and Productivity CRC Press.

(Note: This book includes chapters on environmental conditions but discusses ergonomics in the context of many physical settings. It is not essential for the course but gives the context for the broader application of course materials).

Course notes:

Course Description:

Human factors aspects of ambient conditions in indoor environments are addressed. Emphasis is placed on understanding both key concepts and measurement techniques. Coverage includes thermal conditions, ventilation and air quality issues, lighting, and acoustics as these affect the quality of the indoor spaces in which we live and work.

Course Objectives:

This course aims to familiarize students with the human factors information necessary for creating good indoor ambient environmental conditions. Upon completion of this course the student should understand:

  1. key concepts in each of the major topic areas covered i.e. indoor climate (thermal conditions, ventilation and air quality), indoor lighting, and indoor acoustics.
  2. measurement techniques and be familiar with methods.
  3. how to conduct a human factors analysis of an indoor environment.

Course Format:

The course meets twice each week for a total of three hours. This time will be used for a combination of lecture, discussion, and class work. Where appropriate, guest speakers may contribute to the course. Class readings will be assigned. Course performance will be assessed using two homeworks, and two exams - a prelim.  before spring break and a noncumulative final exam during finals week.

Grading Scheme:

The following grading scheme will be used:

Assignment Dates:


Fall 2016


1.  8/23 Course overview: Human Factors and the Ambient Environment

Readings: Chapter 4, pp 162-178, Lehto & Landry; Chapter 17 Climate, Sanders & McCormick;
Chapter 9 Design & Assessment in Hot & Cold Workplaces, Bridger Bridger

2.  8/25 Measuring Thermal Conditions  

3. 8/30 Human Thermoregulatory Processes,Thermal Sensations, Thermal Stress - Download Homework 1

4.  9/1 Thermal Comfort and Thermal Discomfort

5.  9/6 Thermal conditions in buildings - Effects on Performance and Health

AIR QUALITY AND VENTILATION - Readings: Indoor Air Quality

6.  9/8 Factors affecting Indoor Air Quality

7.  9/13 Ventilation: Human Requirements

8.  9/15  Ventilation standards - Due Date for HW 1

9.  9/20 Indoor Air Pollutants: Inorganic gases -Download Homework 2

10. 9/22 Indoor Air Pollutants: Volatile organics

11. 9/27  Indoor Carcinogens: Radon, Asbestos, Tobacco smoke, Pesticides

12. 9/29 Indoor Air Pollutants: Mineral fibers and Particulates

13. 10/4 Indoor Air Pollutants: Biological contaminants - bacteria, fungi and mites

14. 10/6 EXAM 1 (8:40-9:55 am in class) Download Practice Exam 1

FALL BREAK (10/8-10/12)

15. 10/13 Building Ventilation Systems: Types, Performance, Problems

16. 10/18 Sick Building Syndrome, Mitigating and Preventing IAQ problems

Readings: Chapter 4 pp. 140-156 Lehto & Landry; Chapter 16 Illumination, Sanders & McCormick;
Chapter 10 Visual Environment, Bridger

17. 10/20 Functional Characteristics of Seeing I - Due Date for HW 2

18. 10/25 Functional Characteristics of Seeing II - Download Homework 3

19. 10/27 Measuring Indoor Lighting: concepts and techniques, Principles of Color: Effects on People

20. 11/1 Types of Lighting systems,Techniques of Interior Lighting Design I

21. 11/3 Techniques of Interior Lighting Design II

22. 11/8 Effects of Lighting on Performance and Health


Readings: Chapter 4 pp. 156-161 Lehto & Landry; Chapter 18 Noise, Sanders & McCormick;
Chapter 11 Hearing, Sound, Noise & Vibration, Bridger

23. 11/10 Sound, Audition, Sones, Phons

24. 11/15 Hearing Impairment, Occupational Hearing Loss

25. 11/17 Sound Measurement, Speech, Noise, Performance and Health

26. 11/22 Architectural sound control; absorption, reflection, noise reduction, reverberation - Due Date for HW3

Thanksgiving 11/23-28

27. 11/29 Speech privacy, articulation index, sound conditioning

28. 12/1 Whole body Vibration and Health

FINAL EXAM - Wed, Dec 14 7:00 PM - Room MVR G71

Consult CUErgo periodically for additional course information

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