Guidelines to bridge the gap between adaptive thermal comfort theory and building design and operation practice

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

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/conference proceedingArticle in proceedingResearchpeer-review

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Adaptive thermal comfort guidelines have been developed within the work of Annex 69: “Strategy and practice of adaptive thermal comfort in low energy buildings”. The guidelines have been established based on a framework for adopting adaptive thermal comfort principles in building design and operation developed by the authors. The guidelines target building practitioners, addressing the critical interrelated role building planners, building operators and occupants play. A successful adaptive thermal comfort design, in which design for human thermal adaptation is foreseen, planned, and carefully embedded in the design and operation intent, is based on broad knowledge and understanding of the multiple quantifiable and non-quantifiable factors influencing human perception, as well as human building interaction. Adaptive building design follows a user-centric integrated design approach and therefore it is critical to consider the occupants’ and the operators’ role in buildings already in the design phase. This paper focuses on three main challenges identified earlier and how these are addressed in the guidelines, i.e. i) updating prevailing knowledge about human thermophysiology and adaptation, ii) developing a procedure for design of adaptive opportunities, and iii) providing guidance for operational planning and operation of adaptive buildings. The challenge for future research remains to assess the magnitude of how specific design decisions affect particular adaptive mechanisms.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication11th Windsor Conference - Resilient Comfort, Proceedings
EditorsSue Roaf, Fergus Nicol, William Finlayson
Number of pages17
PublisherEcohouse Initiative Ltd.
Publication date6 May 2020
Article number068
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-9161876-3-4
Publication statusPublished - 6 May 2020
EventWindsor Conference 2020 : Resilient Comfort - Cumberland Lodge, Windsor, United Kingdom
Duration: 16 Apr 202019 Apr 2020


ConferenceWindsor Conference 2020
LocationCumberland Lodge
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • adaptive thermal comfort
  • personal control
  • building energy efficiency
  • climate context
  • sufficiency
  • human building interaction
  • human centred design
  • User involvement


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