Thermal comfort in naturally ventilated buildings

Revisions to ASHRAE Standard 55

Richard J. De Dear*, Gail S. Brager

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

776 Citations (Scopus)


Recently accepted revisions to ASHRAE Standard 55 - thermal environmental conditions for human occupancy, include a new adaptive comfort standard (ACS) that allows warmer indoor temperatures for naturally ventilated buildings during summer and in warmer climate zones. The ACS is based on the analysis of 21,000 sets of raw data compiled from field studies in 160 buildings located on four continents in varied climatic zones. This paper summarizes this earlier adaptive comfort research, presents some of its findings for naturally ventilated buildings, and discusses the process of getting the ACS incorporated into Standard 55. We suggest ways the ACS could be used for the design, operation, or evaluation of buildings, and for research applications. We also use GIS mapping techniques to examine the energy-savings potential of the ACS on a regional scale across the US. Finally, we discuss related new directions for researchers and practitioners involved in the design of buildings and their environmental control systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)549-561
Number of pages13
JournalEnergy and Buildings
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2002


  • Adaptive model
  • Energy conservation
  • Field studies
  • Natural ventilation
  • Standard
  • Thermal comfort

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