Building Simulation

, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp 87–103 | Cite as

On the influence of building design, occupants and heat waves on comfort and greenhouse gas emissions in naturally ventilated offices. A study based on the EN 15251 adaptive thermal comfort model in Athens, Greece

  • Astrid Roetzel
  • Aris Tsangrassoulis
  • Udo Dietrich
  • Sabine Busching
Research Article/Building Thermal, Lighting and Acoustics Modeling


According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change the buildings sector has the largest mitigation potential for CO2 emissions. Especially in office buildings, where internal heat loads and a relatively high occupant density occur at the same time with solar heat gains, overheating has become a common problem. In Europe the adaptive thermal comfort model according to EN 15251 provides a method to evaluate thermal comfort in naturally ventilated buildings. However, especially in the context of the climate change and the occurrence of heat waves within the last decade, the question arises, how thermal comfort can be maintained without additional cooling, especially in warm climates. In this paper a parametric study for a typical cellular naturally ventilated office room has been conducted, using the building simulation software EnergyPlus. It is based on the Mediterranean climate of Athens, Greece. Adaptive thermal comfort is evaluated according to EN 15251. Variations refer to different building design priorities, and they consider the variability of occupant behaviour and internal heat loads by using an ideal and worst case scenario. The influence of heat waves is considered by comparing measured temperatures for an average and an exceptionally hot year within the last decade. Since the use of building controls for shading affects thermal as well as visual comfort, daylighting and view are evaluated as well. Conclusions are drawn regarding the influence and interaction of building design, occupants and heat waves on comfort and greenhouse gas emissions in naturally ventilated offices, and related optimisation potential.


building design occupant behaviour heat waves greenhouse gas emissions EN 15251 adaptive thermal comfort visual comfort 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Boyce PR, Rea MS (2001). Lighting and Human Performance II: Beyond Visibility Models Toward a Unified Human Factors Approach to Performance, EPRI, Palo Alto, CA, National Electrical Manufacturers Association, VA, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Air and Radiation, DC: 2001. 1006415.Google Scholar
  2. Cartalis C, Synodinou A, Proedrou M, Tsangrassoulis A, Santamouris M (2001). Modifications in energy demand in urban areas as a result of climate changes: An assessment for the southeast Mediterranean region. Energy Conversion and Management, 42: 1647–1656.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Chase TN, Wolter K, Pielke RA Sr, Rasool I (2006). Was the 2003 European summer heat wave unusual in a global context? Geophysical Research Letters, 33: L23709.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Coley DA (2008). Representing top-hung windows in thermal models. International Journal of Ventilation, 7: 151–158.Google Scholar
  5. Dietrich U (2006). Daylight-Characteristics and Basic Design Principles, Lighting Design: Principles, Implementation, Case Studies. Heidelberg: Birkhauser Verlag.Google Scholar
  6. DIN EN 12464-1 (2003). Light and lighting. Lighting of work places. Part 1: Indoor work places. Berlin: Beuth Verlag.Google Scholar
  7. DIN EN 15251 (2007). Indoor environmental input parameters for design and assessment of energy performance of buildings addressing indoor air quality, thermal environment, lighting and acoustics. Berlin: Beuth Verlag.Google Scholar
  8. Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (2003). Directive 2002/91/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2002 on the energy performance of buildings. Official Journal of the European Communities, OJ L 1/65, 4 January 2003.Google Scholar
  9. Escuyer S, Fontoynont M (2001). Lighting controls: A field study of office workers’ reactions. Lighting Research and Technology, 33: 77–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. EU-Energy-Star database (2008). Energy calculator, Accessed 15 Jul. 2008.
  11. Farley KMJ, Veitch JA(2001). A room with a view: A review of the effects of windows on work and well-being. National Research Council Canada, IRC-RR-136.Google Scholar
  12. Founda D, Giannakopoulos C (2009). The exceptionally hot summer of 2007 in Athens, Greece.A typical summer in the future climate? Global and Planetary Change, 67: 227–236.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Founda D, Papadopoulos KH, Petrakis M, Giannakopoulos C, Good P (2004). Analysis of mean, maximum and minimum temperature in Athens from 1897 to 2001 with emphasis on the last decade: Trends, warm events and cold events. Global and Planetary Change, 44: 27–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Geros V, Santamouris M, Karatasou S, Tsangrassoulis A, Papanikolaou N (2005). On the cooling potential of night ventilation techniques in the urban environment. Energy and Buildings, 37: 243–257.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Galasiu AD, Veitch JA (2006). Occupant preferences and satisfaction with the luminous environment and control systems in daylit offices: A literature review. Energy and Buildings, 38: 728–742.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Haldi F, Robinson D (2009). Interactions with window opening by office occupants. Building and Environment, 44: 2378–2395.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hassid S, Santamouris M, Papanikolaou N, Linardi A, Klitsikas N, Georgakis C, Assimakopoulos DN (2000). The effect of the Athens heat island on air conditioning load. Energy and Buildings, 32: 131–141.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hellenic Ministry of Development (2008). Measures for reducing buildings’ energy consumption and other regulations, Law 3661/08, 19.05.2008, Appendix 1, Opuscule A, Table 2.2. (in Greek)Google Scholar
  19. Heschong L (2003). Windows and offices: A study of office worker performance and the indoor environment, Technical Report P500-03-082-A-9, California Energy Commission.Google Scholar
  20. Humphreys MA, Nicol JF (1998). Understanding the adaptive approach to thermal comfort. ASHRAE Transactions, 104 (1): 991–1004.Google Scholar
  21. Inkarojrit V (2005). Balancing comfort: Occupants’ control of window blinds in private offices, PhD thesis. University of California, Berkeley.Google Scholar
  22. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) (2007a). Climate change 2007: Mitigation of climate change. Working Group III Contribution to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Figure SPM.6. Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) (2007b). Climate change 2007: Synthesis Report, Summary for Policymakers, Accessed 17 Jan. 2010.
  24. Inui M (1980). Views through a window. In: Proceedings on Daylight, Physical, Psychological and Architectural Aspects. CIE, S. 323–331.Google Scholar
  25. Kalz DE, Pfafferott J, Herkel S, Wagner A (2009). Building signatures correlating thermal comfort and low-energy cooling: in-use performance. Building Research and Information, 37: 413–432.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Katsoulis BD (1987). Indications of change of climate from the analysis of air temperature time series in Athens, Greece. Climatic Change, 10: 67–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Keighley EC (1973). Visual requirements and reduced fenestration in offices buildings.A study of window shape. Building Science, 8: 321–331.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Meehl GA, Tebaldi C (2004). More intense, more frequent, and longer lasting heat waves in the 21st century. Science, 305: 994–997.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Meteonorm 6.0 (2010). Global meteorological database for engineers, planners and education, Accessed 17 Jan. 2010.
  30. Mihalakakou G, Santamouris M, Papanikolaou N, Cartalis C, Tsangrassoulis A (2004). Simulation of the urban heat island phenomenon in Mediterranean climates. Pure And Applied Geophysics, 161: 429–451.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Ne’eman E, Hopkinson RG (1970). Critical minimum acceptable window size, a study of window design and provision of view. Lighting Research and Technology, 2: 17–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Newsham GR (1994). Manual control of window blinds and electric lighting: Implications for comfort and energy consumption. National Research Council Canada, NRCC-37021.Google Scholar
  33. Nicol F, Wilson M, Chiancarella C (2006). Using field measurements of desktop illuminance in European offices to investigate its dependence on outdoor conditions and its effect on occupant satisfaction and the use of lights and blinds. Energy and Buildings, 38: 802–813.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Parpairi K, Baker NV, Steemers KA, Compagnon R (2002). The luminance differences index: A new indicator of user preferences in daylit spaces. Lighting Research and Technology, 34: 53–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Pültz G, Hoffmann S (2007). Zur Aussagekraft von Simulationsergebnissen auf Basis der Testreferenzjahre (TRY) über die Häufigkeit sommerlicher Überhitzung. Bauphysik, 29: 99–109. (in German)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Reinhart CF (2004). Lightswitch-2002: a model for manual and automated control of electric lighting and blinds, Solar Energy, 77: 15–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Relux Professional (2007). Calculation and light design program, Accessed 17 Jan. 2010.
  38. Robinson P (2000). On the definition of a heat wave. Journal of Applied Meteorology, 40: 762–775.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Roetzel A, Tsangrassoulis A, Dietrich U, Busching S (2010). A review of occupant control on natural ventilation. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 14: 1001–1013.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Sutters Y, Mumortier D, Fontoynont M (2006). The use of shading systems in VDU task offices: A pilot study. Energy and Buildings, 38: 780–789.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Tsangrassoulis A (1997). Air mass and visible radiation transfer through partly covered building openings, PhD thesis. Athens (in Greek)Google Scholar
  42. Tuaycharoen N, Tregenza PR (2007). View and discomfort glare from windows. Lighting Research and Technology, 39: 185–200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. U.S. Department of Energy (2007). EnergyPlus Documentation, EnergyPlus Manual, Version 2.Google Scholar
  44. U.S. Department of Energy (2010a). EnergyPlus standard weather data taken from website: Accessed 17 Jan. 2010.
  45. U.S. Department of Energy (2010b). Weather data request form, website Accessed 17 Jan. 2010.
  46. Webb AR (2006). Considerations for lighting in the built environment: Non-visual effects of light. Energy and Buildings, 38: 721–727.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Tsinghua University Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Astrid Roetzel
    • 1
    • 2
  • Aris Tsangrassoulis
    • 2
  • Udo Dietrich
    • 1
  • Sabine Busching
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ArchitectureHafenCity University HamburgHamburgGermany
  2. 2.Department of ArchitectureUniversity of ThessalyVolosGreece

Personalised recommendations