Energy and Buildings, Volume 216, June 2020
Stephanie Gauthier, Himani Pandya, Rajan Rawal, Federico Tartarini, Rohit Upadhyay, Andreas Wagner
Abstract: Thermal comfort research has been traditionally based on cross-sectional studies and spatial aggregation of individual surveys at building level. This research design is susceptible to compositional effects and may lead to error in identifying predictors to thermal comfort indices, in particular in relation to adaptive mechanisms. A relationship between comfort and different predictors can be true at an individual level but not evident at the building level. In addition, cross-sectional studies overlook temporal changes in individual thermal perception due to contextual factors. To address these limitations, this study applied a longitudinal research design over 8 to 21 months in eight buildings located in six countries around the world. The dataset comprises of 5,567 individual thermal comfort surveys from 258 participants. The analysis aggregated survey responses at participant level and clustered participants according to their thermal sensation votes (TSV). Four TSV clusters were introduced, representing four different thermal sensation traits. Further analysis reviewed the probability of cluster membership in relation to demographic characteristics and behavioural adaptation. Finally, the analysis at individual level enabled the introduction of a new metric, the thermal zone (Zt), which in this study ranges from 21.5 °C to 26.6 °C. The thermal sensation traits and person-centric thermal zone (Zt) are a first step into the development of new metrics incorporating individual perceived comfort into dynamic building controls for adaptive buildings.
Paper available on: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0378778819315361?via%3Dihub
Energy and Buildings, Volume 205, December 2019
Runa T. Rajan Rawal, Zhaojun Wang, FarahAl-Atrash
Abstract: The concept of adaptive thermal comfort was formulated many decades ago and has been validated in numerous field studies. As a result, wider acceptable indoor temperature ranges based on adaptive models have been included in international and national standards and the adaptive approach to thermal comfort is regarded as a significant contributor in achieving low energy building design and operation. Despite the ever-increasing scientific literature on adaptive comfort around the world, the overall understanding of how to translate the adaptive principles into design practice and concepts for operating buildings is still limited, which suggests a gap between the scientific outcomes and the real-world applications. This discussion paper identifies the challenges and gaps in using the principles of adaptive thermal comfort by design practitioners and discusses them in light of relevant research findings. More than 100 literature sources were reviewed in support of the discussion. The paper then proposes a framework that aims to facilitate the adoption of adaptive comfort principles in design and operation of buildings and describes the outline of an imminent guideline for low energy building design based on the concept of adaptive thermal comfort.
Paper available on: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0378778819316160
Building and Environment, Volume 151, 15 March 2019
Mona Vishnu Vardhan, Sanyogita Manu, Gail Brager, Rajan Rawal
Abstract: The ever-increasing demand for built spaces to cater to the needs of the tropical population compels for the adoption of sustainable building forms and passive design strategies. This research aims at studying the cases of six naturally ventilated occupied buildings constructed in the tropical ‘warm and humid’ climate of Pondicherry and Auroville, India. The buildings were subjected to long-term data logging and sporadic hand-held measurements. Indoor parameters of air temperature (Ta), surface temperature (Ts), and relative humidity (RH) across six living spaces, eight roof assemblies, and six passive design strategies were logged on an hourly basis and analysed for the hottest and coldest months. In order to estimate the thermal comfort, Ta readings of the most occupied zones were compared against ASHRAE-55 adaptive thermal comfort model and India Model for Adaptive Comfort (IMAC) temperature limits. This research showed that the hourly averaged Ta and RH in the six naturally ventilated spaces at the hottest summer hour (13:00) was between 31.0 and 33.2 °C and 56.0–69.0% while the outdoors were at 36.9 °C and 43.3% respectively. The hourly averaged rooftop and ceiling Ts for the unshaded roofs at 14:00 h during peak summer was between 53.0-43.4 °C and 36.6–31.0 °C respectively, while a shaded roof had a rooftop and ceiling Ts of 34.5 °C and 31.9 °C respectively. The passive design strategies of exposed cavity walls, night ventilation, and optimised building forms were found to be the most effective. The number of uncomfortable hours predicted by the ASHRAE model were found to be 93.4% higher than those by IMAC.
Paper available on: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0360132319300344
Building and Environment, Volume 148, 15 January 2019
Sriraj Rajan Rawal
Abstract: The potential of mixed-mode office buildings with varying design and control parameters is examined by using an uncertainty analysis in the three climate zones of India. The analysis is in terms of cooling energy consumption, thermal comfort conditions, and natural ventilation hours. Furthermore, influential parameters are identified using sensitivity analysis. In this study, opening the windows enables natural ventilation. Night-time ventilation through the windows is not enabled because these are mostly closed at night. A maximum natural ventilation of 10% of the total building occupancy hours are observed in warm and humid, and hot and dry climates; however, they are slightly higher in the composite climate. A further increase in the number of natural ventilation hours leads to an increase in the occupancy hours outside the Indian Model for Adaptive Comfort model for mixed-mode buildings with at least 90% of occupants are satisfied. There are no occupancy hours outside of 80% of occupants are satisfied. The choice of thermal comfort band is crucial for determining the potential of mixed-mode buildings. The cooling setpoint temperature, building size, window solar heat gain coefficient, and surface properties of exterior surfaces are identified as the more influential parameters than the thermophysical properties of building envelope constructions. Although the building envelope which is in compliance with the Energy Efficient Building Code of India increases energy efficiency during air-conditioning periods, whether it reduces natural ventilation hours, because of overheating during such period remains to be determined.
Paper available on: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0360132318306681
Science and Technology for the Built Environment, Volume 24, 2018 - Issue 8
Paper available on: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/23744731.2018.1522144
Building and Environment, Volume 123, October 2017, Pages 37–49 Francesco Babich, Malcolm Cook, Dennis Loveday, sans",="" sans-serif;"="">Rajan Rawal, Yash Shukla
Abstract: Ceiling fans have been used for decades as a means of providing thermal comfort in tropical countries such as India. However, recent years have witnessed a significant increase in the use of air conditioning as a means to achieve comfort, and therefore in the total energy consumption and related CO2 emissions. Ceiling fans are still viable options to limit use of air conditioners or in combination with air conditioners without compromising on thermal comfort and still achieving energy savings. Ceiling fans generate non-uniform velocity profiles, and therefore relatively non-uniform thermal environments, whose characteristics may be tough to analyse with simple modelling methods. This issue can be investigated using CFD. However, to date, there are few works on ceiling fans, CFD and thermal comfort. More accurate models are therefore required to predict their performance. The research presented in this paper aimed to develop and validate a three-dimensional transient implicit CFD model of a typical ceiling fan available in India by comparing simulation results obtained using different URANS turbulence models with measured data collected in controlled environment. The results highlight that this ceiling fan model is able to replicate the predominant characteristics of the air flow generated by the fan such as the meandering plume and the local fine free shear layers. The best results are achieved when the SST k-ω turbulence model is used, with 83% of the simulated values being within the error bars of the respective measured value.
Keywords: Ceiling fan, Thermal comfort, CFD validation, Turbulence modelling, India, Environmental chamber
Journal of Habitat Engineering, Vol3-2, pp 209-218