Qualifying and quantifying thermal comfort in highly glazed spaces

This paper aims to answer a simple and elemental question: how do we qualify and quantify thermal comfort in highly glazed spaces with diverse occupants’ use and expectation? And, how can designers achieve enhanced occupant experience with passive measures, minimizing the use of HVAC systems in such spaces? In this study variables such as air and radiant temperatures, air velocity, relative humidity and direct solar component were identified as the “working tools” in order to create indoor environments that fulfil expectations and serve the building’s function. Parameters such as adaptability, occupants’ expectation and duration of stay within each space are also elemental on the acceptance levels when thermal comfort conditions are not complying with the set performance requirements. The study investigates the existing standards and comfort models and synthesizes this knowledge to develop a “hands on” method (tool) that will help designers meet the comfort expectations of diverse spaces with respect to the vision and the functionality of the building. As a result an excel based tool was developed that can help designers in understanding thermal comfort and the important affecting variables, leading to appropriate measures for avoiding thermal discomfort and fulfilling the set performance requirements.