15 February 2011 – Investa has embarked on a project to unravel the secrets of optimal indoor air temperature by tracking the “shirt-to-jacket” ratio of tenants in three major Sydney CBD buildings.

In a post recorded on the company Green Buildings Alive website, Investa said that most large office buildings try to keep internal air temperatures hovering around 21.5°C in winter and 22.5°C in summer.

“They do it because the leases require it,” the post said. “But is that in the best interests of the occupants? We’re not sure. With record high temperatures all over Australia this summer we’ve been calculating a shirt-to-jacket ratio as a way to investigate the connections between tenants clothes choices, building management, comfort and energy use. ”

Investa co-opted security guards to record whether people entering the buildings wore jackets or not, in an project featured on an ABC news program.

“While temperature is often the main focus in determining whether a person experiences thermal comfort, managing comfort by air temperature alone in a building can be quite ineffective. Factors such as air velocity, humidity and radiant temperatures all come into play. As do the metabolic rate of the occupants and their clothing choices.”

See discussion of these factors in the Adaptive Model of Thermal Comfort

Visit the Thermal Comfort Index Calculator to test the effects of changing these parameters.
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