Studies have found that occupants complain in four out of ten building spaces about thermal comfort, health and safety. As people spend 90% of their time indoors, having a healthy indoor environment is important. The COVID-19 virus has raised the issue of healthy indoor environments higher than ever.
So, what are the characteristics of high-quality indoor air? Plainly said, one cannot smell, feel, see or hear high-quality indoor air. It is neutral in a very sense, which makes it hard for HVAC professionals to sell.
Indoor air quality refers to the air quality within and around buildings and structures, especially as it relates to the health and comfort of building occupants. Having good indoor air quality is paid in the Nordic hemisphere with heating energy. Buildings use about 40% of the energy consumption of the society. However, energy consumption accounts for roughly one per cent of building management costs, so if your task is to save money, you should look at other factors, such as ensuring occupant satisfaction.
Within the broad topic of indoor air quality, we at Kapacity.io look especially at thermal comfort. Thermal comfort is the sensation of an individual to sense the thermal environment. Since the early days of conditioning mechanically buildings, thermal comfort studies have focused on defining the temperature ranges that make people feel thermally neutral, that is, to avoid occupant discomfort. However, even in the well-accepted indoor temperature range of 20-24°C, occupant can experience thermal discomfort.
Studies suggest a new perspective to thermal comfort, looking at asymmetry and transience as more than just a disturbance of neutrality (Zhang 2008). Advances in building IoT infrastructure and user interface technologies enable us an unprecedented ability to improve comfort and reduce energy cost. Based on this, we develop software that takes occupant feedback into account when designing an optimal control strategy in the building.
In the next blog post, I will enlighten you on our vision on feedback-based thermal comfort control. If you want to discuss this topic more in detail, be in touch!
Zhang, H., D. Kim, E. Arens, E. Buchberger, F. Bauman, and C. Huizenga, 2008. Comfort, Perceived Air Quality, and Work Performance in a Low-Power Task-Ambient Conditioning System, CBE Summary Report, April. 45 pp. Available at: https://escholarship.org/uc/item/5j8071wn