Combined thermal acceptability and air movement assessments in a hot humid climate

Christhina Cândido*, Richard de Dear, Roberto Lamberts

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Citations (Scopus)


In the ASHRAE comfort database [1], underpinning the North American naturally ventilated adaptive comfort standard [2], the mean indoor air velocity associated with 90% thermal acceptability was relatively low, rarely exceeding 0.3. m/s. Post hoc studies of this database showed that the main complaint related to air movement was a preference for 'more air movement' [3,4]. These observations suggest the potential to shift thermal acceptability to even higher operative temperature values, if higher air speeds are available. If that were the case, would it be reasonable to expect temperature and air movement acceptability levels at 90%? This paper focuses on this question and combines thermal and air movement acceptability percentages in order to assess occupants. Two field experiments took place in naturally ventilated buildings located on Brazil's North-East. The fundamental feature of this research design is the proximity of the indoor climate observations with corresponding comfort questionnaire responses from the occupants. Almost 90% thermal acceptability was found within the predictions of the ASHRAE adaptive comfort standard and yet occupants required 'more air velocity'. Minimum air velocity values were found in order to achieve 90% of thermal and air movement acceptability. From 24 to 27°C the minimum air velocity for thermal and air movement acceptability is 0.4. m/s; from 27 to 29°C is 0.41-0.8. m/s, and from 29 to 31°C is >0.81. m/s. These results highlight the necessity of combining thermal and air movement acceptability in order to assess occupants' perception of their indoor thermal environment in hot humid climates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)379-385
Number of pages7
JournalBuilding and Environment
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2011


  • Adaptive model
  • Air movement acceptability
  • Air velocity
  • Hot humid climate
  • Thermal acceptability


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