Commentary

Sep-Oct 2015 

Rethinking Comfort: A Pathway to Low-Energy Buildings
by Wolfgang Kessling, Martin Engelhardt and Ina Maia

Buildings today require massive energy inputs. The way we define comfort plays a significant role in this, specifically the design of systems needed to cool indoor spaces. But is this necessary? Is the narrow bandwidth of conditions that air-conditioners deliver the only way to achieve thermal comfort?

Adaptive comfort models, developed in field studies on tropical and subtropical climates, suggest that extended temperature and humidity ranges are acceptable, especially if combined with elevated air speed. Adaptive comfort delivers the same comfort but with lower reliance on mechanical systems. This article is about a hybrid system as an alternative to conventional air-conditioning. This is not, however, a new concept. It is really about rethinking how to do more with less.

 

To read the complete article, get a copy of the Sep-Oct 2015 edition at our online shop or at newsstands/major bookstores; or subscribe to FuturArc.

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