Thermal comfort in natural ventilation - A neurophysiological hypothesis

Richard De Dear*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contributionpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Designing for natural ventilation became permissible in a vastly increased range of climate zones, particularly around the Asia-Pacific region in 2004 with the incorporation of an adaptive model into ASHRAE's comfort standard(Std 55-2004). This mainstreaming of adaptive comfort was further reinforced in Europe a few years later with the introduction EN-15251. Despite its broad international acceptance, there remains a gap in the fundamental theoretical underpinnings of the adaptive comfort approach. One of the big questions left begging is: "How can a single combination of thermal environmental parameters be deemed unacceptable in a conventional HVAC setting, and yet be regarded as acceptable, or even pleasant in a naturally ventilated setting?" A related question is directed specifically at the role of air movement: "How can a single level of air speed be experienced as an unpleasant draft under one set of conditions, and yet induce pleasant sensations under different thermal conditions?" In this paper the physiological phenomenon of alliesthesia is applied to the specific context of thermal comfort to provide a deeper understanding of why adaptive comfort actually works in naturally ventilated situations.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of Conference: Adapting to Change: New Thinking on Comfort, WINDSOR 2010
Publication statusPublished - 2010
EventConference on Adapting to Change: New Thinking on Comfort, WINDSOR 2010 - Windsor, United Kingdom
Duration: 9 Apr 201011 Apr 2010


OtherConference on Adapting to Change: New Thinking on Comfort, WINDSOR 2010
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • Acceptability
  • Alliesthesia
  • Comfort
  • Natural ventilation
  • Thermoreception


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