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DES 57

Applying the Adaptive Model of Comfort

Dr Mark B Luther and Assoc Prof Richard de Dear

This note is directed to one major aspect of the comfort of building occupants – namely, thermal comfort.  Even though it may be difficult to isolate thermal sensations from the whole of comfort itself, humans have a strong physiological connection with their thermal environment.  Our thermal perceptions and sensations often vary greatly, especially between our indoor and outdoor environments. We may be totally comfortable lounging under a shade cloth on a 35°C day with a stiff breeze enveloping our body, but would never tolerate similar conditions indoors.  Such divergent perceptions of the same thermal stimulus across differing contexts raise countless questions about just what the determinants of thermal comfort actually are, and how they may be managed against the demands for an environmentally responsive architecture.

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