CIBSE CPD Module 113 considers newer methods of assessing the comfort of occupants in naturally conditioned buildings, and explores how this relates to the current standards for evaluating thermal comfort.  The article was developed from a paper by Professor Sue Roaf, director at Low Carbon Cities Initiative.

The traditional methods for assessing thermal comfort were developed to meet the needs of designers of mechanically controlled buildings.  However with the adoption of more mixed mode, hybrid or natural ventilation systems for buildings, it is becoming possible to look at some of the more traditional methods of measuring comfort.

The drive for a robust and usable standard for comfort has been documented since the early 1800s and then more “recently” in the mid-1900s.  There are two principle approaches used to establish what a suitable environment in buildings is and how to establish comfort settings – the “heat balance model” and the “adaptive thermal comfort” model.

The CPD module also outlines the three principle standards that are used when considering comfort in buildings:

  • BS EN ISO 7730: 2005 Moderate thermal environments.
  • ASHRAE Standard 55: 2013 Thermal Environmental Conditions for Human Occupancy.
  • BS EN 15251:2007 Indoor environmental input parameters for design and assessment of energy performance of buildings.

In summer, for most ordinary, free-running buildings, people can be considered comfortable indoors within a wide temperature variation throughout the day.  Numerous studies show that occupants who are given local control are satisfied with a wider range of comfort temperatures if they can negotiate, implement and accept conditions themselves.

In buildings such as the Eton Boathouse, the conference centre is served with natural ventilation which can circulate fresh air around seated occupants to improve concentration and focus of delegates, with optimum CO2 levels maintained.

The field of comfort is a foundation stone in the design of low carbon buildings and is fundamental for the enhancement of well-being, productivity and tolerance of occupants.

Our latest sponsored CPD module 113 “Determining thermal comfort in naturally conditioned buildings” with CIBSE looks into this topic in more depth.  To read and complete the module please visit the CIBSE Journal website.  To find out more about our hybrid ventilation solution, please contact our sales team, you can also find out more on our product pages. If you are interested in further CPDs from Monodraught, you can also browse our catalogue and make a request.

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