Investigating the impact of thermal history on indoor environmental preferences in a modern halls of residence complex
Paper in proceedings, 2016
Numerous field studies conducted in different locations have demonstrated that comfort conditions vary due to adaptation to the local climate. This study aims to investigate how preferences for the indoor environment change when the climate context changes and how thermal history influences comfort conditions in a new thermal environment. A new halls of residence complex in the south of England, housing occupants from various climatic regions, is used as a case study. Two thermal comfort surveys were conducted in October and December 2015 (N=53) within the first three months of the occupants. Air temperature and relative humidity measurements were collected during this period.
Results show a range of comfort temperatures of over 10oC across the study period. The first survey (October) found no significant difference between residents when grouped by previous climate of residence. The second survey (December) found that the mean comfort temperature for residents from the UK had dropped by 1oC, despite an unseasonably warm winter, and mean comfort temperatures for residents from other climates remained the same. This could be an indication of psychological adaptation whereby residents accustomed to the UK climate expect cooler temperatures moving from October to December and thus come to prefer this.