Guidelines for low energy building design based on the adaptive thermal comfort concept - Technical report: IEA EBC Annex 69: Strategy and Practice of Adaptive Thermal Comfort in Low Energy Buildings.

Runa T. Hellwig*, Despoina Teli, Marcel Schweiker, Rodrigo Mora, Joon-Ho Choi, Rajan Rawal, M.C. Jeffrey Lee, Zhaojun Wang, Farah Al-Atrash

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

The adaptive thermal comfort concept has been developed over many years and proven in numerous field studies (e.g. Webb 1964, Nicol and Humphreys 1973, Auliciems 1981b, de Dear et al. 1997, McCartney and Nicol 2002, Manu et al. 2016), showing that people are satisfied with a wide range of thermal conditions. Prerequisite is that people are provided with means to make themselves comfortable, that they know which opportunities they have, that it is socially acceptable to use these opportunities and that they are willing to use them (Hellwig, 2015). However, the overall understanding of how to design for such opportunities enabling the occupant to make themselves comfortable in relation to climate and building type, thus how to convert the adaptive thermal comfort concept into building design and concepts for operating buildings, is still limited. There are still common misunderstandings in the interpretation of the adaptive comfort approach among building planners and operators e.g. regarding the amount of control, the seriousness of this topic or the level of information needed by occupants for which reason guidance (e.g. CIBSE 2010, Cook et al. 2020) and knowledge transfer (e.g. Hellwig and Boerstra 2017, 2018) is absolutely essential. Consequently, there is still a gap between scientific research and real-world-application, which this report aims to diminish.

In line with the activities within IEA EBC Annex 69 Subtasks A, B, and C, the present report includes four main sections, addressing the above listed identified challenges and barriers to the adoption of the adaptive thermal comfort in practice by explaining the adaptive thermal comfort principles, by illustrating the benefits from applying the adaptive principles in buildings, through guidance on how to implement the adaptive principles in the design and operation of buildings, especially providing guidance on how to design for adaptive opportunities. The Appendices contain additional information on standards, checklists for stakeholders in the design and operation of buildings as well as documentation and lessons learnt from the buildings investigated within this Annex 69 Subtask C.

This report is formulated with the help of frameworks (Hellwig et al. 2019, Hellwig et al. 2020) developed to facilitate the adoption of adaptive principles in the design and operation of buildings. We aim to provide the knowledge on a general level of understanding, so that it is possible to apply the knowledge in different types of building usage, different climate zones and occupant groups. However, the majority of examples used in this report stems from office buildings, which is mainly rooted in the fact that the majority of research studies focussed on this type of building. Nevertheless, we have supplemented this report with examples from other building types.

The target group of the guidelines in this report are building planners (architects, engineers, sustainability certification consultants/councils) and building operators (facility managers, operators, owners, and tenants). Furthermore, the guidelines in this report are intended as critical sources and guidance to educate future building professionals and stakeholders.

The report includes four main sections, as outlined below.

Section 2 summarises the three adaptive comfort principles, i.e. physiological, behavioural and psychological adaptation. The section follows with a discussion on the effectiveness of the adaptive principles and on the order of activation of adaptive responses. It ends with a brief account on the development of adaptive models.

Section 3 describes the benefits from applying the adaptive principles in buildings, including energy savings, resilience to climate change, improved usability and thermal satisfaction, as well as improved health and well-being.

Section 4 presents the developed framework for adopting the adaptive comfort principles in design and operation of buildings. The main elements of the framework are described, i.e. the building context, adaptive responses and actions, the building planning and design, –the adaptive opportunities design, and the operational planning and operation. Each of these subsections includes guidelines to facilitate the integration of adaptive principles. Section 4 ends with considerations and recommendations for adopting adaptive comfort in conditioned buildings, including advice for facilitating free-running mode in building operation as often as possible and ways to integrate the use of the adaptive principles in permanently or long-season conditioned spaces.

Appendices

Appendix 1 summarises information on adaptive models used in international and national standards, as well as examples of models developed by research in various locations and climates.

Appendix 2 provides checklists of parameters that can help stakeholders implement measures to ensure the availability of adaptive opportunities in buildings.

Appendix 3 is a collation of case studies with practical learnings from adaptive buildings investigated in Annex 69 Subtask C.

Appendix 4 lists publications, presentations and workshops related to Activity B2 of IEA EBC Annex 69.

Authors of main report on guidelines, Appendix 1, 2, 4 worked out in Subtask B, Activity B2
Lead: Runa T. Hellwig, Aalborg University, Denmark
Co-lead: Despoina Teli, Chalmers University, Sweden
Contributors:
Marcel Schweiker, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany
Rodrigo Mora, British Columbia Institute of Technology, Canada
Joon-Ho Choi, University of Southern California, USA
Rajan Rawal, CEPT University, India
M.C.Jeffrey Lee National Taichung University of Science and Technology, Taiwan
Wang Zhaojun, Harbin Institute of Technology, China
Farah Al-Atrash, German Jordanian University, Jordan

Authors of Appendix 3 Documentation of buildings investigated in Annex 69, Subtask C
Lead: Richard de Dear, University of Sydney, Australia
Co-Lead: Stephanie Gauthier, University of Southampton, UK; Jungsoo Kim, University of Sydney, Australia

Contributors (in alphabetical order):

Farah Al-Atrash, German Jordanian University, Jordan
Leonidas Bourikas, University of Southampton, UK
Bin Cao, Tsinghua University, China
Joon-Ho Choi, University of Southern California, USA
Chungyoon Chun, Yonsei University, Korea
Heidi Creighton, Buro Happold Engineering, USA
Paul Cooper, University of Wollongong, Australia
Jérôme Damiens, Tsinghua University, China
Richard de Dear, University of Sydney, Australia
Stephanie Gauthier, University of Southampton, UK
Runa T. Hellwig, Aalborg University, Denmark
Wenjie Ji, Tsinghua University, China
Xinyu Jia, Tsinghua University, China
Jungsoo Kim, University of Sydney, Australia
Suhyun Kwon, Yonsei University, Korea
Kyeongsuk Lee, University of Southern California, USA
Original languageEnglish
PublisherAalborg Universitet, Department of Architecture Design and Media Technology
Number of pages133
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

Keywords

  • adaptive thermal comfort
  • personal control
  • Adaptive opportunities
  • Design Process
  • low energy architecture
  • personlised ventilation
  • alliesthesia

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  • Occupants in the Building Design Decision-Making Process

    Bleil de Souza, C., Tucker, S., Belafi, Z. D., Reith, A. & Hellwig, R. T., 1 May 2023, Occupant-Centric Simulation-Aided Building Design: Theory, Application, and Case Studies. O'Brien, W. & Tahmasebi, F. (eds.). 1st Edition ed. New York: Routledge, p. 34-59 26 p.

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  • The role of user controls with respect to indoor environmental quality: From evidence to standards

    Berger, C., Mahdavi, A., Ampatzi, E., Bandurski, K., Hellwig, R. T., Schweiker, M., Topak, F. & Zgank, M., 1 Oct 2023, In: Journal of Building Engineering . 76, 12 p., 107196.

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  • Design of adaptive opportunities for people in buildings

    Hellwig, R. T., Teli, D., Schweiker, M., Choi, J-H., Lee, J. M. C., Mora, R., Rawal, R., Wang, Z. & Al-Atrash, F., 19 Apr 2022, Routledge Handbook of Resilient Thermal Comfort. Nicol, F., Rijal, H. B. & Roaf, S. (eds.). 1 ed. Routledge, 17 p. (Routledge International Handbooks).

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