2020 havenith et al ethnicity and comfort.pdf (8.47 MB)

Higher comfort temperature preferences for anthropometrically matched Chinese and Japanese versus white-western-middle-European individuals using a personal comfort / cooling system

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journal contribution
posted on 14.08.2020 by George Havenith, Katy Griggs, Yifen Qiu, Lucy Dorman, Vallavan Kulasekaran, Simon Hodder
Purpose: To investigate potential differences in preferred Personal Comfort Systems (PCS) settings of Japanese and Han-Chinese versus white-western-middleEuropeans. Method: A series of five experiments with similar methodology is reported that allowed participants to self-select their preferred PCS outlet air temperature in a warm controlled climatic chamber setup with and without solar radiation. Test groups were matched for age, height, weight, body-surface-area and body-mass-index to remove the influence of these confounding factors on the results. Participants were first exposed to solar radiation (exp-1-4; simulating glazed building without proper shading or a car) before starting to control the outlet temperature of the PCS, or (exp5, simulating warm building) were exposed to a warm room temperature and immediately could control the PCS. Ethnicity effects were studied through the chosen preferred PCS outlet temperatures and the microclimate temperature close to the participants’ chest. Results: In all experiments, Asian groups selected a PCS outlet temperature significantly higher, on average 5ºC, leading to a 1.9ºC higher microclimate temperature at chest level. While absolute selected temperatures of the PCS differed between experiments, related to different designs of the PCS and climate conditions, no interaction between ethnicity and experiment was present. Conclusions: Despite removing important confounding factors that could explain earlier observed differences between Asian and white western middle-European ethnicities tested, a substantial, consistently higher thermal preference temperature of the PCS was found in the two Asian groups. This has implications for the design parameters of PCS for use in offices or air-conditioning systems in cars.



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Building and Environment




Elsevier Ltd


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This is an Open Access Article. It is published by Elsevier under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported Licence (CC BY). Full details of this licence are available at: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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Prof George Havenith. Deposit date: 11 August 2020

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