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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Visualizing the results of thermal comfort field studies: putting publicly accessible data in the hands of practitioners 

  • Author(s): Pigman, Margaret
  • Zhang, Hui
  • Honnekeri, Anoop
  • Arens, Ed
  • Brager, Gail
  • et al.

Large sets of thermal comfort field data have been analysed in detail to inform generalized thermal comfort standards, but there is specific information that might be relevant to particular projects that is not easily accessed by practitioners. We developed interactive tools that allow users to explore the data and look at the subsets that are most interesting to them because of location, culture, building type, etc. The first tool displays curves of dissatisfaction percentages for ranges of thermal sensation, PMV, and indoor temperature based on the comfort metrics of acceptability, comfort, and sensation. Using this tool, we show that a thermal sensation range of -1.3 to 1 provides 80% satisfaction based on acceptability and comfort in both naturally ventilated and air conditioned buildings. The second tool provides a new way of analysing and representing data in these datasets that calculates satisfaction percentage directly, and visualizes the results clearly. We demonstrate how the interactivity allows users to answer project-specific questions. While our visualization method is helpful for displaying the data, it does not provide a mathematically defined comfort zone. We discuss future avenues of development of these tools.

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