Issues pertaining to comfort in architecture have gained great importance in the last few decades because of their significant influence on people’s satisfaction and productivity and on the overall building energy management. Yet, despite numerous efforts in developing predictive models, human perception of comfort still poses important challenges during the design process, both at the research and professional levels.
Through human-centered experimentations and building performance simulations, LIPID contributes in the acquisition of new knowledge about the main environmental parameters that have an impact on comfort, with a major focus on thermal and visual factors.
In this way, the research provides new insights into suitable design strategies and models to support the design process in achieving a comfortable and sustainable built environment.
Latest related publications
Combined effects of daylight transmitted through coloured glazing and indoor temperature on thermal responses and overall comfort
Building and Environment. 2018-08-22. Vol. 144, p. 583-597.
DOI : 10.1016/j.buildenv.2018.08.045.
This study investigates the effect of daylight transmitted through three coloured glazing types (blue, orange and neutral) on thermal responses and overall comfort, at three temperature levels (19 °C, 22 °C and 26 °C). The goal is threefold: (i) understand whether the colour can affect a perception other than the visual (i.e., the thermal); (ii) study whether colour interacts with temperature influencing thermal responses; (iii) examine the combined effect of colour and temperature on overall comfort. A total of 75 participants took part in a controlled experiment. Thermal responses were estimated with questionnaires about subjective thermal estimation and physiological measurements (skin temperature, heart rate and skin conductance). Statistical analyses revealed that daylight transmitted through coloured glazing affected participants' thermal responses, mainly psychologically rather than physiologically, resulting in a colour-induced thermal estimation. With a blue glazing, people felt colder and less comfortable than with a neutral one. With an orange glazing, people felt warmer and more comfortable than with a blue one. Results were independent of temperature levels, but occurred mainly at temperatures perceived as comfortable (26 °C) or close-to-comfortable (22 °C). Overall comfort was also affected, both at the beginning of the colour exposure by only the glazing's colour, and at the end of the exposure by both colour and temperature. Given the significance of effects for the short exposure time and for temperature ranges that are realistic indoors, these findings should be taken into consideration in practice for both comfort and energy savings purposes, especially in transitional spaces.
Comfort, climatic background and adaptation time: first insights from a post-occupancy evaluation in multicultural workplaces
Proceedings of the 10th Windsor Conference: Rethinking comfort. 2018-04-12. 10th Windsor Conference: Rethinking comfort , Windsor, UK , April 12-15, 2018. p. 814-823.
One of the effects of globalization and work mobility is the increasing multiculturalism in the workplace. While contemporary design policies for energy efficiency and comfort regulations are moving towards the adoption of models customized for local communities, consideration on the coexistence of people with different origins is underestimated in the current comfort debate. The aim of this study is to show whether building occupants' comfort rating can be affected by their climatic background as well as their duration of living in the current country of residence. A post-occupancy evaluation (POE) was carried out in two office buildings located in Switzerland accounting for a high rate of international employees. Questionnaires were distributed among the building occupants with the aim to investigate, among other things, their satisfaction with temperature, air quality, lighting, noise, view to the outside and privacy. With regard to thermal comfort and air quality, the results show that indeed people's rating varied significantly according to their climate of origin as well as with the time span spent in the country. However, no statistically significant differences were found in terms of their satisfaction level with the other above-mentioned comfort factors. Overall, the study provides new insights on the relationship between comfort perception, cultural background and people's adaptive behavior, raising questions about the appropriateness of current comfort models and design strategies to achieve adequate environmental conditions in workplaces.
Investigation of different subjective response scales for thermal comfort analysis: Likert-type and visual analogue scales
Perception of thermal comfort and pain - are we assessing their dynamics right?, Heidelberg, Germany, November 9-10, 2017.
Within the framework of a study investigating interactions among indoor environmental factors, two experiments were conducted on the effects of visual stimuli on thermal perception. Thermal responses were recorded with two methods, one quantitative via physiological measurements and a subjective one using a questionnaire. The questionnaire was developed on the basis of the standard EN ISO 10551 (2001-06-01) and recent publications on thermal comfort –. Two types of measurement scales were used, i.e., Likert-type and visual analogue. The first type was used for the questions about the thermal sensation, thermal comfort and thermal preference of the subjects and for the thermal sensation of their body parts (hands, feet and body). The only visual analogue scale in the questionnaire referred to the acceptability of the local climate in the room where the experiment was conducted. Different outcomes were recorded for the survey questions as they assess different aspects of thermal perception, confirming the outcome of previous studies , . The comparison between Likert- and visual-analogue scales shows a much broader variety of responses for the visual analog scale. We assume that this is due to the nature of the measurement technique that allowed fine-tuned judgement of the indoor climate on a scale from 0 (acceptable) to 100 (unacceptable). The Likert-type scales of the other questions, on the other hand, gave the chance to choose only among five or seven fixed answers, leading to responses much more restricted around particular values. As an outcome for the specific topic of our research (i.e., the study of interactions between visual and thermal factors), investigating in general small effect size, we argue that a measurement scale leading to a bigger variety of responses is more suitable. The development of a single value incorporating several responses from different questions is currently under discussion.