Occupant comfort in naturally ventilated and mixed-mode spaces within air-conditioned offices

Scott Drake*, Richard De Dear, Angela Alessi, Max Deuble

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Contemporary concerns for improving environmental performance in buildings have led to an increased interest in naturalb ventilation (NV) either on its own or in combination with air-conditioning (mixed mode (MM)) as an alternative to traditional heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) systems. HVAC systems are widely used because they avoid many of the problems encountered with NV or MM - noise, dust, insects, odours, temperature extremes - and readily conform to steady-state conditions of thermal comfort. However, it is possible that NV or MM can provide improved indoor air quality precisely through variations associated with external climatic conditions. This article introduces an ARC (Australian Research Council) funded project evaluating comfort conditions in MM spaces, using field studies from two buildings. The first, a University campus building in Sydney, offers MM perimeter offices with air-conditioned central spaces, while the second, a commercial building in Melbourne, offers a series of MM spaces that can be used by workers from adjacent air-conditioned office spaces. The aim of the project is to evaluate the feasibility of using MM either in place of or in association with traditional HVAC systems. The outcomes of the project will be used to elaborate the justifications for inclusion of NV spaces and/or NV periods within contemporary office environments. This article presents preliminary results of the fieldwork at each location.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)297-306
Number of pages10
JournalArchitectural Science Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Hybrid ventilation
  • Mixed-mode buildings
  • Thermal comfort


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