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Thermal comfort practices in the home and their impact on energy consumption

By Aidan Christopher Tweed, Dylan Dixon, E. Hinton and K. Bickerstaff


Existing theories have little to say about thermal comfort in the home. Most previous studies have focused on non-domestic buildings in which the occupants have limited opportunities to change the ambient environmental conditions. At home, people generally have greater freedom and, subject to the capabilities of the building and its systems, can decide and create conditions they consider comfortable. This paper reports on a detailed study of thermal comfort practices and energy consumption in different dwellings in South Wales using mixed methods to record physical conditions and householders' accounts of how and why they create those conditions. The methodology includes a robust form of thermal comfort survey that has enabled us to link reported comfort votes to measurements of prevailing environmental conditions. Householders also participated in in-depth interviews to describe how they maintain comfort in their everyday lives. This study reveals diverse time-varying profiles of thermal conditions, in which there are significant differences in temperatures in the main living spaces and in the temperature distribution, for example, between living rooms and bedrooms. It shows how householders develop a range of behaviours, skills and knowledge to create thermal conditions they consider acceptable rather than those predicted by conventional comfort theories

Topics: NA, TD, TH
Publisher: 'Informa UK Limited'
Year: 2014
DOI identifier: 10.1080/17452007.2013.837243
OAI identifier: oai:
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