Field studies of thermal comfort across multiple climate zones for the subcontinent: India Model for Adaptive Comfort (IMAC)

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Building and Environment, 2016, 98 pp. 55 - 70
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© 2015 The Authors. India is witnessing unprecedented growth trends in building construction, particularly office spaces. Indian offices are designed to operate at 22.5 ± 1 °C all year round to meet the stringent "Class A" specifications outlined by international standards in the absence of an India-specific comfort standard. This paper proposes an India Model for Adaptive Comfort - IMAC - based on the field surveys administered in 16 buildings in three seasons and five cities, representative of five Indian climate zones. A total of 6330 responses were gathered from naturally ventilated, mixed mode and air-conditioned office buildings using instantaneous thermal comfort surveys.Occupants in naturally ventilated Indian offices were found to be more adaptive than the prevailing ASHRAE and EN models would suggest. According to the IMAC model, neutral temperature in naturally ventilated buildings varies from 19.6 to 28.5 °C for 30-day outdoor running mean air temperatures ranging from 12.5 to 31 °C. This is the first instance where a study proposes a single adaptive model for mixed mode buildings asserting its validity for both naturally ventilated and air-conditioned modes of operation in the building, with neutral temperature varying from 21.5 to 28.7 °C for 13-38.5 °C range of outdoor temperatures. For air-conditioned buildings, Fanger's static PMV model was found to consistently over-predict the sensation on the warmer side of the 7-point sensation scale.
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