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FIELD-BASED RESEARCH ON THERMAL COMFORT IN PASSIVE SOLAR BUILDINGS.

Objective



THE EXTENT TO WHICH PASSIVE SOLAR BUILDINGS ARE CONSIDERED TO BE THERMALLY COMFORTABLE BY OCCUPANTS IS LIKELY TO BE INFLUENCED BY, ON THE ONE HAND, THE LEVEL OF DIRECT SOLAR HEAT GAIN AND THE DEGREE OF TEMPORAL AND SPATIAL VARIABILITY IN AIR TEMPERATURES AND, ON THE OTHER HAND, BY HOW THESE PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS ARE SUBJECTIVELY JUDGED; IT MIGHT BE FOR EXAMPLE, THAT A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF VARIATION IN TEMPERATURE IS PREFERRED TO THE CONSTANT CONDITIONS WHICH AIR-CONDITIONING ATTEMPTS TO ACHIEVE.
RECENT RESEARCH INDICATES THAT TEMPERATURE REQUIREMENTS AT HOME ARE LOWER THAN PREDICTED, SUGGESTING THAT THERMAL COMFORT MAY BE INFLUENCED BY NON-THERMAL FACTORS. OUR APPROACH TO EVALUATING COMFORT CONDITIONS IN PASSIVE SOLAR BUILDINGS IS THEREFORE TO AUGMENT SUBJECTIVE ASSESSMENTS OF THERMAL COMFORT WITH ASSESSMENTS OF A NUMBER OF OTHER FACTORS LIKELY TO FORM PART OF THE JUDGEMENTAL CONTEXT.
WITH THIS END IN VIEW, A NEW ENVIRONMENTAL COMFORT ASSESSMENT PROCEDURE, WHICH INCLUDES PHYSICAL MEASUREMENTS, HAS BEEN DEVELOPED AND TESTED IN A PILOT STUDY (1) OF ABOUT 100 OFFICE STAFF AND PEOPLE AT HOME IN BOTH CONVENTIONAL AND PASSIVE SOLAR BUILDINGS. THE NEW PROCEDURE INCLUDES AN ASSESSMENT OF THREE NON-THERMAL FACTORS: THE EXTENT TO WHICH THE NON-THERMAL ASPECTS OF AN OFFICE SPACE (SUCH AS DAYLIGHT) ARE REGARDED AS SATISFACTORY BY THE OCCUPANT, THE DEGREE OF PERSONAL CONTROL THE OCCUPANT HAS OVER THE THERMAL ENVIRONMENT, AND THE VISUAL ATTRACTIVENESS OF THE OFFICE SPACE. PRELIMINARY INDICATIONS ARE THAT EACH OF THESE FACTORS HAS A SIGNIFICANT EFFECT UPON THE PERCEPTION OF THERMAL COMFORT, AND UPON THERMAL REQUIREMENTS.

THE NEW ASSESSMENT PROCEDURE IS NOW BEING APPLIED TO A LARGER SAMPLE BUILDINGS: 6 PASSIVE SOLAR OFFICE BUILDINGS IN THE UK AND 2 IN THE FRG; A PASSIVE SOLAR HEALTH CARE CENTRE IN THE UK; AND ABOUT 60 PASSIVE SOLAR DWELLINGS IN THE UK, FRANCE AND THE FRG. A NUMBER OF NON-PASSIVE SOLAR BUILDINGS ARE ALSO BEING STUDIED FOR COMPARISON PURPOSES.
(1) THE PILOT WORK WAS ALSO SUPPORTED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY, UK.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

UNIVERSITY OF SURREY
Address

GU2 5XH Guildford
United Kingdom