DES 71: Adjusting Building Thermostats for Environmental Gains – Understanding the Issues; and
DES 72: Adjusting Building Thermostats for Environmental Gains – A Pilot Study
This summary covers both of these companion papers.
There has been increasing reliance on mechanical heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems to achieve thermal comfort in office buildings. The use of universal standards for thermal comfort adopted in air-conditioned spaces often result in a large disparity between mean daily external summer temperatures and temperatures experienced indoors. The extensive overuse of air-conditioning in warm climates not only isolates us from the external environment, but is generally dependent on non-renewable energy.
This paper discusses a pilot study which involved altering the thermostat set-points to 2-3°C above the normal summer setting in two air-conditioned buildings during a Brisbane subtropical summer. It was expected that this minor temperature change would reduce energy usage for air-conditioning which would in turn, reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The aim of this project was to measure the social, economic and environmental value of a different approach to thermal comfort, facilities management, corporate culture and acceptance of the benign subtropical climate.
This paper presents the findings of the research, including ‘lessons learned’ and a set of strategies that may be used by facilities managers who adopt a similar initiative, to ensure that users of buildings are positively engaged and consistent protocols are communicated to all stakeholders. The research that informed this study is discussed in the companion paper DES 71: Adjusting Building Thermostats for Environmental Gains – Understanding the Issues.
air-conditioning, commercial buildings, climate appropriate clothing, greenhouse gas emissions reductions, occupant behaviour, thermal comfort