Air movement preferences observed in naturally ventilated buildings in humid subtropical climate zone in China

  • Wei Yang
  • Guoqiang ZhangEmail author


Occupants’ preferences for air movement in naturally ventilated buildings have been extracted from a database of three thermal comfort surveys conducted in the humid subtropical climate zone in China, during winter, spring, and summer seasons. The distribution of draft sensation shows that only 25.7, 38.5, and 28.7% of the subjects in winter, spring, and summer, respectively, felt that the available air movement was just right, suggesting that indoor air velocity may be a big problem in naturally ventilated buildings in humid subtropical China. Air movement preferences show that 15.8, 61.3, and 80.6% of subjects in winter, spring, and summer, respectively, wanted more air movement. Only a handful of subjects wanted less air movement than they were actually experiencing in any season, suggesting that draft was not much of an issue for thermal comfort. Occupants’ preference for air movement is strongly related to thermal sensation, showing that people want to control air movement as a means of improving their comfort. The demand for less air movement under cool sensation is much smaller than the overwhelming demand for more air movement when the sensation was warm. The above results indicate that air movement might have a significant influence over the respondents’ comfort sensation and that people required a high level of air movement in order to be comfortable during the summer season. Thus, one efficient way to improve the thermal environment in summer in humid subtropical China could be to provide occupants with effective natural ventilation and allow personal control of the air movement. Our findings are also applicable to other buildings, to encourage designers to provide air movement as a low energy cooling strategy and to ensure that sufficient levels of air movement are available.


Naturally ventilated buildings Draft sensation Air movement preference Thermal sensation 



The work of this paper is financially supported by the National Key Technology R&D program of China (2006BAJ02A05, 2006BAJ04B04), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No.50478055), Asia-Link Project of European Community [CN/Asia-Link/012 (93520)], and the Teaching and Research Award Program for Outstanding Young Teachers in Higher Education Institutions of MOE, PR China. The authors thank Mr. Guo Hongtao, Mr. Tangkui and Mr. Lu Rende for their assistance in the field survey work of this paper.


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© ISB 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Lab of Building Safety and Energy EfficiencyMinistry of EducationBeijingChina
  2. 2.College of Civil EngineeringHunan UniversityHunanChina

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