A new suite of free and publicly available online resources have been launched to facilitate academic and professional studies of thermal comfort in buildings, the result of a four-year effort led by the Center for the Built Environment at UC Berkeley and the University of Sydney’s Indoor Environmental Quality Laboratory. These tools can be used to inform questions about thermal comfort, and to encourage the design of climate-responsive and comfortable low energy (and ZNE) buildings.
The tools include an interactive visualization tool, a ‘query builder,’ and access to a repository of thermal comfort data collected from field studies from around the world. This work serves a fundamental goal of CBE’s (Center for the Built Environment) research consortium: to make key research findings available to industry and to provide ‘actionable insights’ that improve building design and operation. The work was supported by the ASHRAE grant, ‘Global Thermal Comfort Database II,’ which builds on a project completed in the 1990s (and described below).
The database holds findings from research conducted over two decades, created in collaboration with over 60 contributors around the world who released their raw data for wide dissemination. The research team collected over 107.000 rows of data, pairing subjective ‘right-here-right-now’ comfort responses with environmental measurements relevant to thermal comfort. In addition to being an impressive body of collaborative data collection (the largest thermal comfort database to date), the project team strove to build resources for both industry practitioners and researchers.