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Title: Climatic responsive design and occupant comfort : the case of the atrium building in a Mediterranean climate
Author: Douvlou, Elena D.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2690 8519
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2004
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Atria, particularly those enclosed by glass, have become popular features of many buildings in recent years. Due to the large amount of glazing, they are characterised by complex thermal processes and by levels of interaction with the ambient climate more intense than other types of buildings. Both the thermal processes and the local climate, place additional complexity for the designer of an atrium building. So far, research concerning atrium buildings and glazed spaces has focused on their energy performance and their potential contribution in minimizing cooling and heating loads of the adjacent buildings. The current research additionally concentrates on the need to achieve acceptable indoor thermal conditions, basic condition for environmental control of a space. However, the knowledge concerning occupant expectations and preferences in atrium buildings is limited, especially regarding warm to hot climates i. e. the Mediterranean climate. The research comprises the study of factors influencing temperature in glazed atrium spaces in Mediterranean climate and the conditions that result in relation to occupant comfort. The investigation involved: - literature review on atrium architectural forms and thermal processes; - observations of atrium buildings in the specific climatic context; - thorough analysis of the climate and climatic responsive design strategies; - occupant comfort surveys; - in situ physical measurements of a case study building in Greece during the peak seasons (winter and summer); empirical validation of the software. The results from the occupant comfort survey established the adaptability of the users to a wider range of thermal conditions in atrium buildings. The in situ physical measurements provided useful information on the building's performance. These results and the background research constituted a valuable input for the parametric study from which recommendations of design criteria for optimal atrium design in the Mediterranean climate were derived. The main conclusion of the research is that understanding the climatic attributes of a specific location, and the occupants' expectations, together with the selection of appropriate design parameters, leads to the design of a comfortable and efficient environment. The results of the study are applicable to designers at the conceptual stage as well as to cases of retrofitting.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available