Twenty first century standards for thermal comfort: fostering low carbon building design and operation

P.G. Tuohy, S. Roaf, F. Nicol, M.A. Humphreys, A. Boerstra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)
53 Downloads (Pure)


Nearly 50% of energy consumed in the developed world is consumed in buildings. Despite regulation intent, many new buildings are energy profligate. Thermal comfort standards are partly responsible for this increase in consumption. In this volume, Roaf et al. have described the evolution of current comfort standards and problems inherent in buildings they shape, and have discussed two new methods of regulating thermal comfort in buildings which recognize human adaptation and have potential for reduced energy demand. These new methods incorporate adaptation through a fixed heating and cooling threshold approach (similar to Japanese Cool-Biz) or through heating and cooling setpoints calculated based on outdoor conditions(using CEN standard equations). The impact on comfort and energy demand of these new approaches is investigated for a London office building. Variables such as future climate, future building upgrades, setback temperatures, internal gains and ventilation are also explored. Adoption of the new approaches gave a 50% reduction in heating and cooling energy for the simulated office. The new approach together with optimized setback temperatures, ventilation strategies and higher efficiency equipment gives predicted heating and cooling energy demand close to zero. Recommendations for future regulation, design and operation of buildings are proposed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-86
Number of pages9
JournalArchitectural Science Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2010


  • thermal comfort
  • building standards
  • reduced energy
  • ventilation
  • heating
  • cooling


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