Raising indoor air temperature setpoints in office buildings
Published 26 November 2010
The thermal comfort of office building occupants can be enhanced by adjusting the operation of heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems to account for seasonal variations in ambient climatic conditions and the occupants’ clothing insulation, behaviour patterns and expectations.
This paper presents findings from a study of the potential to reduce HVAC energy use and enhance thermal comfort by raising internal air temperature setpoints in Australian commercial office buildings. Setpoints at 33 large mechanically ventilated office buildings were adjusted throughout the period 1 November, 2009 to 31 March, 2010 using either:
- a static control strategy (i.e. raising temperatures 1°C higher than normal over summer), or
- a dynamic approach (i.e. adjusting temperatures in direct response to variations in ambient conditions).
It was found that occupant comfort, quantified by frequency of ‘complaints’ registered with a tenant helpdesk, was adversely affected in both trials. The 1°C static setpoint increase was associated with a 6% reduction in daily HVAC energy use, compared to a 1.4% reduction for the buildings where the dynamic approach was adopted.
These preliminary findings have significant implications for the implementation of adaptive comfort control strategies in large centrally air-conditioned commercial office buildings.
Roussac, A. C., Steinfeld, J. and de Dear, R. (2010). A preliminary evaluation of two strategies for raising indoor air temperature setpoints in office buildings. In C. Murphy, S.J. Wake, D. Rhodes, D. Turner & G McConchie (eds), On the edge: Cross-disciplinary connections in architectural science: 44th Annual Conference of the Australian and New Zealand Architectural Science Association, [CD-Rom] Unitec, Auckland: ANZAScA.