Behavioural adaptation for the thermal comfort and energy saving in Japanese offices

Rijal H.B., Humphreys M.A., Nicol J.F. , Journal of the Institute of Engineering ,15 (2019), 14-25.

Office workers use a variety of adaptive opportunities to regulate their indoor thermal environment. The behavioural adaptations such as window opening, clothing adjustments, and use of heating/cooling are important factors for adaptive thermal comfort. It is well-known that they are the most important contributors in the adaptive thermal comfort model. Thus, if we understand the behavioural adaptation properly, we can explain the mechanism of the adaptive model. The indoor thermal environment is often adjusted using the air conditioning in Japanese office buildings to improve thermal comfort and productivity. Thus, it is necessary to conduct research on the behavioural adaptation in the offices because the occupant behavior is different from behaviour in dwellings. In order to record the seasonal differences in behavioural adaptation and to develop an adaptive algorithm for Japanese offices, we measured temperatures in 11 office buildings and conducted the thermal comfort and occupant behaviour survey for over a year. We collected 4,660 samples from about 1,350 people. The proportion of ‘open window’ in the free running mode (neither heating nor cooling being used) is significantly higher than that of the air conditioned mode. The behavioural adaptation is related to the outdoor air temperature. The behavioural adaptations such as window-opening, heating and cooling use predicted by regression analysis are in good agreement with the measured data. These findings can be applied to building thermal simulation to predict the behavioural adaptation and energy use in office buildings.

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