Thermal Conditions in Indoor Environments: Exploring the Reasoning behind Standard-Based Recommendations
1.1. General Reflections on Thermal Conditions in Indoor Environments and the Associated Impact on Occupants’ Health and Well-Being
1.2. Thoughts on the General Role of the Standards in the Building Delivery Process
1.3. Should Thermal Standards Provide Arguments for the Validity of Their Recommendations?
2.2. Selection of Standards
2.3. Standards Assessment Matrix
2.4. Selection of Technical Literature
2.5. Evaluation of the Strength of the Provided Evidentiary Material
- Arguments for selection (i.e., type of reference (general/specific), design and performance variables for which the reference is relevant);
- Basic information (i.e., method of the study, physical and climatic context, date/duration of the study);
- Participant information (i.e., number, gender, age of participants, cultural/ethnic background);
- Collected data (i.e., IEQ data, occupant-related data, outdoor conditions data as well as respective quality/resolution of the provided data);
- Data analysis (i.e., data processing method, clarity of the results and interpretation).
- Data reliability;
- Consistency of the results with related requirements in the standard;
- Argumentation/reasoning for the evaluation of the results’ consistency.
3.1. Overview on the Selected Standards, Guidelines, or Regulations and Referenced Technical Literature
3.2. Summary of Findings
5. Recommendations for Future Standardization Efforts and Conclusions
- The reviewed thermal standards include both general (i.e., bibliographic) and specific references to other standards.
- Likewise, many standards include general references to the technical literature. About 60% of the thermal standards refer specifically to the technical literature (i.e., scientific/technical papers, and reports).
- In case of some standards, several indirect pieces of evidence are stated in the bibliography section that seem to provide evidence, but these sources are not clearly stated or referred to with regard to the standards’ specific mandates.
- The origin of thermal comfort methods that have been incorporated into standards decades ago (e.g., PMV model, draft rate model, adaptive model) is, in principle, traceable. However, the evidence and traceability of some details is not fully given in all cases. Directly referencing would improve this considerably.
- The referenced literature per se, even if inconsistently quoted, does in the majority entail empirical studies with consistent findings. Some of the references in the bibliographies report on findings which seem to have not made their way into the standards.
- The reasoning of included classifications in the selected standards is not found in the standards or their related technical reports.
- On the one side, the quality of standards needs to be improved vis à vis multiple criteria, including transparency, clarity, consistency, communication effectiveness, documentation of the underlying reasoning, traceable logic, and rules in provision of evidence and referencing, explicit declaration of gray areas of knowledge and uncertainties, and most importantly, perpetual updating in the context of emerging new understanding and knowledge.
- On the other side, the scientific community cannot expect the standardization bodies to single-handedly sift through the vast and rather inhomogeneous body of research in this area. Such bodies have to engage in much complex and consensus-oriented deliberations involving multiple—at times conflicting—interests that are not solely technical and domain-specific, but originate from industry, commerce, and policy. Consistent science-based formulations of the state of the art in the pertinent domain (in this case, thermal comfort) is a task best performed by the pertinent scientific community.
- Specific approaches, criteria, or values in standards and guidelines should provide direct references to the original research that forms their evidentiary basis.
- The users of standards would benefit from a consistent and clearly communicated referencing method and style. Abiding by such an approach across multiple standards (i.e., not only thermal but also related to other IEQ domains) would facilitate a more productive application of standards.
- A systematic documentation of the standardization process would be beneficial (beyond minutes or work documents with tracked changes). Such documentations should also be accessible to the users of standards and guidelines (see for instance ASHRAE’s continuous maintenance procedure).
- The above-mentioned documentation of the standardization process should provide detailed information and arguments for the evaluation criteria, models, and design recommendations.
- Reports, publications, or other materials that provide the evidentiary basis should be preserved along with the standard and preferably published as open-source documents also accessible to non-academic stakeholders.
- If extensions, supplements, and transformations of the standards were made based on the updated state of knowledge, then the respective adjustments or additions need to be highlighted in a transparent manner. If no evidentiary basis is provided for such extensions, supplements, and transformations, then arguments must be given as to why they were implemented.
- Such documentation and reasoning are also necessary when changes to standards are implemented.
- Standards, guidelines, or codes, as well as their revisions, should be supplemented with a technical document containing (i) direct reference to the evidentiary research and (ii) the argumentation for the development or transformation process.
Conflicts of Interest
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|Full title||Abbreviation||Year||Geographic coverage||Target IEQ domain(s)||Combined effect||Relevant building type(s)||Scope|
|Target Design and Performance Variables|
|Design variables||Design variables values||Design classes/|
|Performance variables||Performance variables |
|Direct evidence for the requirements||General reference to other standards||Specific reference to other standards||General |
reference to technical
|Specific reference to technical |
|Potential other evidence|
|Data Validation||Evaluation of Evidence|
|Were the results validated with reference to other/similar studies in the relevant domain?||Are the results consistent with related requirements in the standard?||Argument(s)/reasoning for your choice stated in the previous column|
|Standard||Year||Geographic Coverage||Relevant Building Type(s)||Mentioned IEQ Environment||Scope|
|EN 16798-1 , CEN/TR 16798–2 ||2019||European||Residential and non-residential||Thermal environment, IAQ, visual environment, acoustic environment||The standard specifies requirements for indoor environmental parameters for the thermal environment, indoor air quality, lighting, and acoustics, as well as how to establish these parameters for building system design and energy performance calculations.|
|ASHRAE Standard 55 ||2020||US/International||Residential and non-residential||Thermal environment||The standard specifies the combinations of indoor thermal environmental factors and personal factors that provide acceptable thermal environmental conditions.|
|ASHRAE Guideline 10 ||2016||US/International||All indoor enclosed spaces except spaces primarily for manufacturing, parking garages, storage spaces, other spaces not designed primarily for human occupancy||Thermal environment, IAQ, acoustic environment (sound and vibration), visual environment (non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation including visible light)||The guideline provides guidance regarding IEQ factors and their interaction applicable to several space types and to the design, construction, commissioning, operation, and maintenance of buildings.|
|ANSI/ASHRAE/USGBC/IES Standard 189.1 ||2009||US/International||Non-residential, residential above three stories, does not apply to buildings that do not use electricity, fossil fuels, or water||Thermal environment, IAQ, visual environment (daylighting), acoustic environment||The standard targets high-performance green buildings (site sustainability, water use efficiency, energy efficiency, IEQ, atmospheres, materials, resources), design, construction and operation of new buildings and their systems, new portions of buildings and their systems, and equipment in existing buildings.|
|DIN 4108-2 ||2013||National (Germany)||Residential and non-residential||Thermal environment (minimum requirements to thermal protection)||The standard describes the design of minimum thermal protection of buildings and building elements, among others warm season prevention from overheating. It includes a simple compliance method and advanced simulation method, and a procedure providing detailed simulation boundary conditions to determine the frequency of room temperatures.|
|ISO 7730 ||2005||International||Residential and non-residential||Thermal environment||The standard presents methods for predicting the general and local thermal sensation of people exposed to moderate thermal environments.|
|ISO 17772-1 ||2017||International||Residential and non-residential (offices, schools)||Thermal environment, IAQ, visual environment (lighting), acoustic environment||The standard defines IEQ ranges to be used as input for building energy calculation and long-term evaluation of the indoor environment.Note that the standard provides empty tables (Annexes A-G) suitable for national implementation, if values differ from those shown in ISO 17772-1:2017.|
|ISO/TR 17772-2 ||2018||The technical report explains how to use ISO 17772-1 for specifying IEQ parameters for building system design and energy performance calculations. It also outlines new possibilities to improve the IEQ and reduce the energy use of buildings (e.g., personalized systems, air cleaning technologies, consideration of adapted persons).|
|EN 14501 ||2018||European||Not specified (non-residential and residential)||Thermal environment, visual environment||The standard specifies prescriptive building measures for controlling solar gains by providing reference parameters for glazing and shading devices.|
|WELL v2 ||2020||International||Residential and non-residential environments||Thermal environment, IAQ, visual environment, acoustic environment||The commercial certification scheme includes a set of strategies around ten concepts, namely air, water, nourishment, light, movement, thermal comfort, sound, materials, mind, and community. The thermal comfort concept considers, among other aspects, general thermal comfort, local (dis)comfort, and control over the thermal environment.|
|CIBSE Guide A ||2021||National (UK)||All types||Thermal environment, IAQ, visual environment, acoustic environment||The guideline provides a set of criteria for the building environmental design regarding indoor environment (thermal, visual, and acoustic) and health (IAQ, mold growth) as well as methods of calculations (e.g., thermal comfort evaluation, energy demand).|
|CIBSE TM40 ||2020||National (UK, extension to Australia)||All types except healthcare buildings||Thermal environment, IAQ, visual environment (daylighting), acoustic environment, other (landscape/vegetation, electromagnetic fields, water)||The technical report provides guidance on the relevance of health and well-being strategies for building services. It concerns key environmental parameters that impact well-being in the design, construction, and operation of buildings, including indoor environment and further areas.|
|CIBSE TM52 ||2013||National (UK) /European||Non-residential||Thermal environment (overheating in the warm season)||The technical report provides a series of criteria by which the risk of overheating can be assessed or identified.|
|CIBSE TM59 ||2017||National (UK)||Residential (new or refurbishment)||Thermal environment (overheating in the warm season)||The technical report provides a design methodology for the assessment of overheating in homes based on the use of dynamic thermal modelling.|
|ASR A3.5 ||2010||National (Germany)||Non-residential (workplaces, rooms for work breaks, sanitary, canteen)||Thermal environment (occupational safety and health: sufficient room temperature at the workplace)||The rule specifies mandatory minimum requirements for the room temperature of workplaces specifying the general requirements of the German Ordinance of Workplaces (under the German Safety and Health at Work Act) as well as basic occupational safety obligations of the employer, obligations and rights of employees, and the monitoring of occupational safety.|
|Passive House ||2015||International||All types||Thermal environment and IAQ in the context of energy use compliance||The commercial design and certification scheme concerns ultra-low-energy buildings.|
|EN 16798-1 , CEN/TR 16798–2 ||Input parameters for the design of building envelope, heating, cooling, ventilation, and lighting, operative temperature range for assumed space types, presence/no presence of heating/cooling systems, radiant temperatures, air speed, air temperature, floor surface temperature||Performance criteria are defined in CEN/TR 16798–2, categories (PMV, temperature ranges, radiant temperature asymmetry, draft, vertical temperature gradient, floor temperature), long-term evaluation of IEQ based on post-occupancy studies or simulations|
|ASHRAE Standard 55 ||Air temperature, radiant temperature, indoor air humidity, air speed||PMV, indoor operative temperature, long-term evaluation of the general thermal comfort conditions|
|ASHRAE Guideline 10 ||-||-|
|ANSI/ASHRAE/USGBC/IES Standard 189.1 ||Thermal environmental conditions for human occupancy: refers to ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 55 (Section 6.1 “Design”)||Thermal environmental conditions for human occupancy: refers to ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 55 (Section 6.2 “Documentation”)|
|DIN 4108-2 ||Envelope/space properties with regard to thermal protection in the cold and warm season (minimum requirements)||Operative temperature reference values and maximum degree hours for acceptable overheating in the advanced compliance method|
|ISO 17772-1 ||Air temperature, mean radiant temperature, floor surface temperature, operative temperature, air speed, air humidity||PMV, draft rate, vertical air temperature difference, warm and cool floors, radiant asymmetry|
|ISO/TR 17772-2 |
|EN 14501 ||Total energy transmittance gtot, secondary heat dissipation qi,tot, perpendicular transmittance Te,n-n, out of scope visual variables||Operative temperature|
|WELL v2 ||-||PMV, indoor operative temperature, % satisfied (survey), measurements: dry-bulb temperature, relative humidity, air speed (only for projects that use elevated air speed method), and mean radiant temperature|
|CIBSE Guide A ||Air temperature, radiant temperature, indoor air humidity, air speed||Acceptable temperature bands, acceptable temperature, acceptable temperature drift during a day/over several days, radiant temperature asymmetry, overheating risk-assessment, combination of (high) relative humidity (RH) and (high) temperature, relative humidity, minimum acceptable air temperature, combination of indoor RH, air temperature, and fresh air supply|
|CIBSE TM40 ||Air temperature, mean radiant temperature, wind speed, solar gains, etc. (all relevant environmental parameters of PMV model), physiological and behavioral/adaptive mechanism (implicating ‘clo’ and ‘met’ of PMV model), adaptive opportunities, social/cultural conditions (e.g., perceptions of sweating)||PMV, operative temperature (link to CIBSE Guide A), running mean of outdoor temperature (link to CIBSE TM52, TM59)|
|CIBSE TM52 ||Air temperature, radiant temperature, humidity, air speed, clothing, and activity level||PMV, operative temperature, upper limit temperature|
|CIBSE TM59 ||Design condition to find cost-effective options to limit overheating risk whilst also delivering all the other aspects occupants look for in their homes (e.g., daylight, insulation, view, etc.)||Includes combination of design aspects that contribute to overheating risk, i.e., windows and door openings, exposure time, infiltration and mechanical ventilation, air speed assumption, blinds and shading devices, communal corridor|
|ASR A3.5 ||-||Requirements towards room temperature represented by the air temperature depending on activity and body posture and partly depending on outdoor temperature. Qualitative descriptions of how to protect against excessive solar radiation, examples are given|
|Passive House ||Operative temperature, minimum thermal protection, building and primary energy use||Frequency of overheating, frequency of high humidity incidence and occupant satisfaction, standard allows designers an alternative pathway to proving thermal comfort if adherence to DIN EN ISO 7730 is demonstrated|
|ASHRAE Standard 55 ||2020||4/2/75|
|EN 16798-1 ||2019||Overall: 38/6/0, related to thermal environment: 7/1/0|
|CEN/TR 16798-2 ||2019||Overall: 35/3/23, related to thermal environment: 7/1/4|
|ISO 17772-1 ||2017||Overall: 37/7/0, related to thermal environment: 7/2/0|
|ISO/TR 17772-2 ||2018||Overall: 7/2/23, related to thermal environment: 1/0/4|
|General Thermal Comfort—PMV||Draft||Vertical Air Temperature Difference||Warm/Cold Floors||Radiant Temperature Asymmetry|
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Berger, C.; Mahdavi, A.; Ampatzi, E.; Crosby, S.; Hellwig, R.T.; Khovalyg, D.; Pisello, A.L.; Roetzel, A.; Rysanek, A.; Vellei, M. Thermal Conditions in Indoor Environments: Exploring the Reasoning behind Standard-Based Recommendations. Energies 2023, 16, 1587. https://doi.org/10.3390/en16041587
Berger C, Mahdavi A, Ampatzi E, Crosby S, Hellwig RT, Khovalyg D, Pisello AL, Roetzel A, Rysanek A, Vellei M. Thermal Conditions in Indoor Environments: Exploring the Reasoning behind Standard-Based Recommendations. Energies. 2023; 16(4):1587. https://doi.org/10.3390/en16041587Chicago/Turabian Style
Berger, Christiane, Ardeshir Mahdavi, Eleni Ampatzi, Sarah Crosby, Runa T. Hellwig, Dolaana Khovalyg, Anna Laura Pisello, Astrid Roetzel, Adam Rysanek, and Marika Vellei. 2023. "Thermal Conditions in Indoor Environments: Exploring the Reasoning behind Standard-Based Recommendations" Energies 16, no. 4: 1587. https://doi.org/10.3390/en16041587