Development of an Adaptive Thermal Comfort Equation for Naturally Ventilated Buildings in Hot and Humid Climates

  • Doris Hooi Chyee Toe


The objective of this study was to develop an adaptive thermal comfort equation for naturally ventilated buildings in hot-humid climates. The study employed statistical meta-analysis of the ASHRAE RP-884 database, which covered several climatic zones. The data were carefully sorted into three climate groups including hot-humid, hot-dry, and moderate and were analysed separately. The results revealed that the adaptive equations for hot-humid and hot-dry climates were analogous with approximate regression coefficients of 0.6, which were nearly twice those of ASHRAE Standard 55 and EN15251, respectively. Acceptable comfort ranges showed asymmetry and leaned towards operative temperatures below thermal neutrality for all climates. In the hot-humid climate, a lower comfort limit was not observed for naturally ventilated buildings, and the adaptive equation was influenced by indoor air speed rather than indoor relative humidity. The new equation developed in this study can be applied to tropical climates and hot-humid summer seasons of temperate climates.


Thermal comfort Adaptive model Hot-humid climate Natural ventilation ASHRAE RP-884 



We thank the support from the Ministry of Education, Malaysia, and Universiti Teknologi Malaysia for the Fundamental Research Grant Scheme (FRGS) Grant (No. R.J130000.7821.4F837). Our sincerest gratitude is given to Richard J. de Dear, Gail S. Brager, Donna Cooper, and all of the field study contributors to the ASHRAE RP-884 database. We greatly appreciate the advice offered by the editors of this book and Dr. Nakaya of Gifu National College of Technology.


  1. 1.
    ASHRAE (2013) ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 55-2013: thermal environmental conditions for human occupancy. American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, Inc., AtlantaGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    BSI (2008) BS 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. British Standards Institute, LondonGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Humphreys MA, Nicol JF (1998) Understanding the adaptive approach to thermal comfort. ASHRAE T 104(1b):991–1004Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    de Dear RJ, Brager GS (2002) Thermal comfort in naturally ventilated buildings: revisions to ASHRAE Standard 55. Energ Buildings 34(6):549–561CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Nicol F, Humphreys M (2010) Derivation of the adaptive equations for thermal comfort in free-running buildings in European Standard EN15251. Build Environ 45(1):11–17CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Humphreys MA, Nicol JF, Raja IA (2007) Field studies of indoor thermal comfort and the progress of the adaptive approach. Adv Build Energ Res 1:55–88CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Nicol F (2004) Adaptive thermal comfort standards in the hot-humid tropics. Energ Buildings 36(7):628–637CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Toe DHC, Kubota T (2011) A review of thermal comfort criteria for naturally ventilated buildings in hot-humid climate with reference to the adaptive model. In: Bodart M, Evrard A (eds) Conference proceedings of the 27th International conference on passive and low energy architecture, Louvain-la-NeuveGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Toe DHC, Kubota T (2013) Development of an adaptive thermal comfort equation for naturally ventilated buildings in hot-humid climates using ASHRAE RP-884 database. Front Archit Res 2:278–291CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    The University of Sydney (2010) ASHRAE RP-884 adaptive model project, data downloader. Accessed 3 Feb 2010
  11. 11.
    de Dear RJ, Brager G, Cooper D (1997) Developing an adaptive model of thermal comfort and preference. Final report on ASHRAE RP-884. Macquarie University, SydneyGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    NCDC (2012) Climate data online, global surface summary of day data version 7. Accessed 20 Apr 2012

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Doris Hooi Chyee Toe
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Built EnvironmentUniversiti Teknologi MalaysiaSkudaiMalaysia

Personalised recommendations