The influence of a student’s ‘home’ climate on room temperature and indoor environmental controls use in a modern halls of residence
Journal article, 2016
Adaptive comfort theory states that over time people adapt to their normal environment. Therefore, people from different climates are expected to have different thermal preferences and behaviours, which could lead to ‘performance gap’ in buildings with occupants of diverse climate backgrounds. This study investigates the influence of occupants’ thermal history on use of controls and indoor temperature preference in a newly built halls of residence building complex in Southampton, UK, which provides 1104 rooms to international and UK students. A total of 223 questionnaire responses along with monitored temperature data and thermal comfort surveys from 30 rooms are used in this analysis.
The results indicate that residents’ ‘home’ climate is impacting the reported use of environmental controls in rooms with similar typological characteristics. The average indoor temperature of residents from warm climates was 2.3 °C higher than that of residents from cool climates in February 2015 (winter heating season). This difference cannot be explained by room orientation alone. Comparison of room temperatures to design values indicates that UK design standards may not account for the comfort needs of residents accustomed to warmer climates. A simple management approach to comfort optimisation is suggested, locating students on the appropriately orientated facade to reflect their ‘home’ climate.