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November 04, 2004— Ottawa, Ontario

NRC Annual Report 2003-2004

NRC Annual Report 2003 - 2004


Read more about NRC's accomplishments in the 2003-2004 Annual Report


More than 70 per cent of employees work in open office environments. Although this type of design is supposed to be cost effective, poor designs often lead to poor working conditions (bad air quality, not enough light, too much noise, etc.), reduced occupant satisfaction and, ultimately, decreased productivity for the organization.

Known officially as COPE (Cost-effective Open-Plan Environments), a major NRC-led study provided a number of recommendations for designers. These range from considerations about construction materials, such as ceiling tiles that absorb sound and surfaces that reflect light, to factors that allow occupants more control over their environments. The study also resulted in two unique software tools for designers that assess the impact of different building materials and design choices on the overall office environment. The study merged research strengths in a number of different fields such as acoustics, ventilation, lighting, and psychology.

Office cubicles
Office cubicles

The COPE findings will be featured as part of NRC-IRC's ongoing "Building Insight" seminar series, which travels to cities across Canada.

Partners for the COPE Study were: Public Works and Government Services Canada, Building Technology Transfer Forum, USG Corporation, Ontario Realty Corporation, British Columbia Building Corporation, Steelcase Inc., and Natural Resources Canada.

The Science of Human Factors

The COPE study involved human factors research, the study of people and their interactions with their environments.

This field of study is extremely diverse and helps shape research projects at a number of different NRC institutes such as NRC-IAR (where human factors research is used to help build better cockpit display systems) and NRC-IIT (to build better and more intuitive computer user interface tools).

Enquiries: Media relations
National Research Council of Canada

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