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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

ASHRAE 55 - Cool People, Not Buildings

Great Article by: Andrea Ward

"Recent updates to the industry standard for thermal comfort in buildings, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Standard 55, will for the first time recognize elevated air speed as a component of thermal comfort, giving building designers and operators the ability to turn up the fans, rather than the air-conditioning, to help occupants stay comfortable when building temperatures rise.

According to Standard 55 committee chair Stephen Turner, a growing body of research indicates that having some degree of air movement within a space can keep people just as comfortable, if not more so, than do uniform, still-air conditions at lower temperatures. Based on this research, the change to the standard represents a move away from “the pursuit of uniformity” inside buildings and toward allowing a wider variety of conditions. "The main application of the elevated air speed changes is to provide designers and building operators with the flexibility to reduce air-conditioning energy use by keeping people comfortable with local air movement in warmer conditions," Turner said. This flexibility carries the potential for energy savings, and should give designers more latitude in creating spaces like atria, which are high-performance features for daylighting and cold-weather solar gain, but difficult and energy-intensive to condition efficiently to more traditional, uniform thermal conditions...Continue Reading..."

To fellow LEED AP's out there the article will definitely interest you but I believe it should interest my fellow Revit users as well. The simple idea of "Cool people, not buildings" is such a great way to think about thermal comfort. If you only skimmed the article then I still hope the next time you begin to think about thermal comfort while designing you remember "cool people, not buildings"...