Climate specific thermal design for naturally ventilated and mixed mode environments
Authors: Dixon, Jodie
ABSTRACT: Climate specific thermal design has been investigated in a recent study of low energy
buildings. The thermal performance of four naturally ventilated buildings, one mixed mode and one airconditioned
building has been investigated on the University of Newcastle campus. The research
question asked wether thermal comfort was the primary environmental concern for low energy
buildings in a temperate to sub-tropic climate. A three part multi-method approach to data collection
was chosen. The empirical study combined a survey of user perceptions, climate measurements and
observations of building use and occupant behaviour. Low levels of temperature satisfaction were
found in winter and summer in the naturally ventilated buildings but acceptable temperature
satisfaction was conveyed in the mixed mode and air-conditioned environments. Measured
temperature and humidity data confirmed these findings. Observations revealed behavioural
adaptations in naturally ventilated buildings were in response to the infiltration of outdoor temperatures.
The paper concludes that the appraisal of the outdoor climate plays a pivotal part in the choice for low
energy natural ventilation or mixed mode design. The study highlights the need for climate specific
building design to ensure the best use and selection of low energy building comfort strategies.