Thermostats, climatically responsive clothing and reducing buildings greenhouse gas emissions

Kennedy, Rosemary J., Miller, Wendy, Summerville, Jennifer A., Heffernan, Maree E., & Loh, Susan (2007) Thermostats, climatically responsive clothing and reducing buildings greenhouse gas emissions. In Sustainable Building South East Asia (SB07SEA), Kuala Lumpur, 5 - 7 November 2007, Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur.


There has been increasing reliance on mechanical heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems in order to achieve thermal comfort in office buildings. The use of universal standards for thermal comfort adopted in air-conditioned spaces often results in a large disparity between mean daily external summer temperatures and temperatures experienced indoors. The extensive overuse of air-conditioning in warm climates not only isolates us from the vagaries of the external environment, but is generally dependent on non-renewable energy.

Research conducted at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) involved altering the thermostat set-points to two or three degrees above the normal summer setting in two air-conditioned buildings during the subtropical summer. It was expected that this minor temperature change would reduce energy usage of air-conditioned buildings and in turn, reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The aim of this project was to measure the social, economic and environmental value of a different approach to thermal comfort, facilities management, corporate culture and acceptance of the benign subtropical climate.

Surveys were administered periodically to workers in the buildings to assess their comfort levels during a four month period. Internal and external temperature, humidity and air movement were measured. Data collected was used to compare weather data and energy use of the buildings from the same period in the previous year; and also to analyse users' physiological and psychological responses, including the acceptance of appropriate climate responsive clothing as acceptable business attire.

This paper presents the findings of the research, including 'lessons learned' and a set of strategies that may be used by facilities managers who adopt a similar initiative, to ensure that users of buildings are positively engaged and consistent protocols are communicated to all stakeholders.

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ID Code: 12702
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Thermal comfort, non, renewable energy, corporate culture, climatically, appropriate, clothing
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > SOCIOLOGY (160800) > Social Change (160805)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENGINEERING (090000) > MECHANICAL ENGINEERING (091300) > Mechanical Engineering not elsewhere classified (091399)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000) > OTHER BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (129900) > Built Environment and Design not elsewhere classified (129999)
Divisions: Past > Research Centres > Centre for Social Change Research
Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2007 (please consult author)
Deposited On: 28 Feb 2008 00:00
Last Modified: 28 Jun 2017 14:39

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