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Investigation of thermal comfort and improvement strategies for multi-functional transitional spaces in public buildings

Tse, Ming Yeung 2020. Investigation of thermal comfort and improvement strategies for multi-functional transitional spaces in public buildings. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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Transitional spaces have been widely applied in building designs nowadays, which are present in the form of atria, lobbies, corridors and covered streets. As they have become common features of buildings, they may account for 10 to 40% of the total volume in different types of buildings. However, thermal discomfort has been revealed in such spaces of several newly constructed buildings, where there are still no recommended acceptable comfort range and thermal comfort prediction methods for transitional spaces. This research aims to investigate environmental performance and adaptive comfort of transitional spaces in order to achieve acceptable thermal comfort level by identifying the thermal comfort ranges, people’s adaptive behaviours and means to improve thermal comfort. Three public buildings in Cardiff were selected as case studies for the research. They were the National Assembly for Wales Senedd, the Hadyn Ellis Building and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. The whole research consists of two major work stages – the field studies and computational analysis. The field studies included on-site questionnaire surveys and physical measurements; and the computational analysis was conducted by coupling software techniques of CFD modelling and HTB2. The field studies were carried out in summer and winter period where the total responses from the questionnaire surveys were 736 and 580 for these buildings respectively. It is concluded from the research that people have adaptability to their thermal environment, based on the strong correlations between the clothing value and indoor operative temperature, and that the majority of people (nearly 80%) opted for self-adaptive actions to overcome uncomfortable situation. With the large thermal comfort dead bands identified, the research work also concluded that a fine control of the indoor temperature to maintain an acceptable comfort level within building transitional spaces is not necessary. Correlation analysis also suggested that PMV model is not accurate in thermal environmental prediction in building transitional spaces. The computational analysis further evaluated the impacts of different system setups on the thermal comfort within the transitional spaces of the selected surveyed buildings under extended climatic scenarios. The study confirms that passive design such as natural ventilation is helpful in improving the thermal environment but under extreme weather conditions, active system shall be operated at the same time. By just operating the underfloor radiant system is good enough to maintain an acceptable thermal comfort within the building transitional spaces during warm season. However, in order to have effective control of thermal environment within building transitional spaces, both the underfloor radiant system and underfloor air distribution system shall be designed and operated. The findings of this research could help the decision-makers and architects to improve thermal performance of both existing and future designs of indoor transitional spaces.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Architecture
Uncontrolled Keywords: Thermal Comfort Multi-functional Transitional Spaces Public Buildings
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 22 April 2021
Last Modified: 22 Apr 2021 15:28

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