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Are heavyweight buildings more comfortable? The potential of thermal mass in increasing thermal comfort

Are heavyweight buildings more comfortable? The potential of thermal mass in increasing thermal comfort
Are heavyweight buildings more comfortable? The potential of thermal mass in increasing thermal comfort
In temperate climates, one passive design solution is to increase the heat capacity of building fabric. This design principle aims to reduce heating demand in winter and over-heating in summer; it is also coupled with more stable indoor air and radiant temperature. This may suggest that by exposing thermal mass, occupants may feel more comfortable. Although previous research based on simulations have studied this relationship, there is a lack of empirical evidence. This paper reviews the results an EU-funded research project, smart controls and thermal comfort (SCATs) to ascertain the impact of building fabric on occupants’ perceived comfort. Between 1997 and 2000, twenty-six office buildings from five different countries (France, Greece, Portugal, Sweden and UK) were surveyed using a transverse questionnaire, a longitudinal questionnaire and environmental monitoring. This paper analyses the transverse questionnaires responses (N=451), in particular answers to questions on thermal perception, thermal preference and overall comfort. Results show a statistically significant relationship between building fabric heat capacity and subjective comfort (thermal perception χ2(1)=3.78, p=0.05 and overall comfort χ2(1)=4.37, p<0.05). Heavyweight buildings are reported to be more comfortable than lightweight buildings. Providing careful integration with building management, this insight may have implications on the adoption of thermal mass in new and retrofit buildings.
Passive design, Thermal mass, Thermal comfort, Adaptive comfort
Gauthier, Stephanie
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Teli, Despoina
4e57e6dd-e0dc-49ef-b711-974ba1c978df
James, Patrick
da0be14a-aa63-46a7-8646-a37f9a02a71b
Stamp, Samuel
4d5e9325-e902-43fc-a324-ae64b5502719
Gauthier, Stephanie
4e7702f7-e1a9-4732-8430-fabbed0f56ed
Teli, Despoina
4e57e6dd-e0dc-49ef-b711-974ba1c978df
James, Patrick
da0be14a-aa63-46a7-8646-a37f9a02a71b
Stamp, Samuel
4d5e9325-e902-43fc-a324-ae64b5502719

Gauthier, Stephanie, Teli, Despoina, James, Patrick and Stamp, Samuel (2017) Are heavyweight buildings more comfortable? The potential of thermal mass in increasing thermal comfort. Passive Low Energy Architecture: Design to Thrive, United Kingdom. 03 - 05 Jul 2017.

Record type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)

Abstract

In temperate climates, one passive design solution is to increase the heat capacity of building fabric. This design principle aims to reduce heating demand in winter and over-heating in summer; it is also coupled with more stable indoor air and radiant temperature. This may suggest that by exposing thermal mass, occupants may feel more comfortable. Although previous research based on simulations have studied this relationship, there is a lack of empirical evidence. This paper reviews the results an EU-funded research project, smart controls and thermal comfort (SCATs) to ascertain the impact of building fabric on occupants’ perceived comfort. Between 1997 and 2000, twenty-six office buildings from five different countries (France, Greece, Portugal, Sweden and UK) were surveyed using a transverse questionnaire, a longitudinal questionnaire and environmental monitoring. This paper analyses the transverse questionnaires responses (N=451), in particular answers to questions on thermal perception, thermal preference and overall comfort. Results show a statistically significant relationship between building fabric heat capacity and subjective comfort (thermal perception χ2(1)=3.78, p=0.05 and overall comfort χ2(1)=4.37, p<0.05). Heavyweight buildings are reported to be more comfortable than lightweight buildings. Providing careful integration with building management, this insight may have implications on the adoption of thermal mass in new and retrofit buildings.

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More information

Published date: 4 July 2017
Venue - Dates: Passive Low Energy Architecture: Design to Thrive, United Kingdom, 2017-07-03 - 2017-07-05
Keywords: Passive design, Thermal mass, Thermal comfort, Adaptive comfort

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 412992
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/412992
PURE UUID: 63b1b1c9-1a92-4abd-b8bf-b50073e5f73a
ORCID for Stephanie Gauthier: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-1720-1736
ORCID for Despoina Teli: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-7044-0050
ORCID for Patrick James: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-2694-7054

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Date deposited: 10 Aug 2017 16:30
Last modified: 18 Feb 2021 16:42

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