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Open Access Publications from the University of California

A field study of thermal environments and comfort in office buildings


This paper presents the initial findings of ASHRAE research project RP-462, a field study of environmental conditions and occupant comfort in ten office buildings in the San Francisco Bay region. We made a total of 2342 visits to 304 participants during two seasons, collecting a full set of physical measurements and subjective responses at each visit. In this paper we describe the building environments and their conformity to the requirements of tire thermal standards, the distribution of thermal sensation responses, neutral and preferred temperatures, conditions of thermal acceptability, and gender and seasonal effects on comfort responses. A few of the results are as follows: 78.2% (winter) and 52.8% (summer) of the workstation measurements fell within the ASHRAE Standard 55-81 comfort zones; the higher summer comfort zone was judged as too warm based on several rating scales; neutral temperatures were 22.0°C (winter) and 22.6°C (summer), and preferred temperatures were 0.3-0.6°C cooler.

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