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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Data Collection Methods for Assessing Adaptive Comfort in Mixed-Mode Buildings and Personal Comfort Systems

Creative Commons 'BY' version 4.0 license

The Adaptive Comfort Standard in ASRHAE Standard 55 currently is applicable only to naturally ventilated buildings, and no guidance is given on its relevance to buildings that are mixed-mode (combining operable windows with mechanical cooling), or have other forms of personal comfort systems, such as workstation heaters, fans, or ventilators. For these types of buildings or systems, the extent to which people will find the conventional PMV-based or adaptive-based comfort zones acceptable has a lot to do with how the building is designed and how it is operated throughout the year. And this is simply not yet known. There is a need for more field studies in these types of buildings to assess the specific design and operating characteristics that might influence adaptive comfort.  But to date there are no standardized methods for conducting such studies. The objective of this project was to identify a set of data collection protocols that would eventually allow us to investigate and potentially expand the adaptive comfort standards to account for mixed-mode and personal comfort system design strategies. To arrive at a proposal, we polled professionals for their own views on what data is needed, and also reviewed the literature comparing field methods used over the past decade that have expanded upon traditional thermal comfort field studies.  We used two frameworks to organize the data.  One was a “methods matrix”, describing the ways in which data can be collected, organized by background vs. real-time information, and objective building characteristics and environmental measurements vs. different kinds of surveys.  The second framework was a list of six high-level topics that represent unresolved issues that should be addressed by future data collection.  These issues include the need for improved methods to describe the building, document available controls, account for perceived control and thermal expectations, account for utilized control, determine the influence of outdoor conditions, and (re)define “comfortable”.  This second framework is used for a lengthy discussing of the literature to to understand how far research has come in addressing these issues.  This is later mapped onto the methods matrix in our proposal for new field study protocols.

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