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Title: Occupants' adaptive responses in non-air-conditioned workplaces
Author: Liu, Jing
ISNI:       0000 0004 2743 3543
Awarding Body: University of Reading
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2012
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The achieved thermal comfort of occupants could be regarded as a result of not only physical environmental conditions but also three categories of adaptations (e.g. physiological, behavioural and psychological dimension). In this research, the thermal conditions in workplaces in the UK and China were investigated and were further linked to thermal responses of occupants. The adaptations of subjects were also studied individually and comprehensively with the aim to better understand the mechanism of adaptations and to establish those adaptations and corresponding alternatives that interrelate to affect thermal comfort. The thermal comfort and adaptive responses survey covered a year-long period from April, 2010 to April, 2011. A total of 41 and 148 respondents participated in the field investigations in the UK and China and provided 1022 and 1178 datasets, respectively. The results of the field study indicated that subjects in China case were more tolerance of the variations of ambient thermal conditions and subsequently produced more pleasant thermal sensations and lower thermal dissatisfaction rate. The skin physiological responses (e.g. mean skin temperature and GSR) of human body in real workplace environment were found to be time-dependent. At on arrival stage, which was equivalent to settling-down stage in climatic chamber experiments, mean skin temperatures demonstrated almost vertical increase regardless of subjects' clothing levels and activity levels. The different combinations of clothing and physical activity levels had direct impact on skin physiological responses of occupants under various thermal conditions. The studied physiological variables in this research demonstrated few tendencies at departure stage. The results of analysis of adaptive behaviour data illustrated that occupants were active players in environmental control and their adaptive responses were driven strongly by thermal stimuli and varied from season to season and from time to time even on the same day. Those adaptive responses of occupants were thermally, socially, economically and habitually conditioned. The developed adaptive behavioural predictive model using three statistical methods provide comprehensive understanding of windows operation behaviour in real environment. Psychological adaptation analysis indicated that psychological issues such as perceived environmental control level and thermal expectation had positive impact on thermal sensations of occupants. The findings of comprehensive effects of adaptations study revealed the footprint of the adaptations of the subject in their real thermal environment. The results of analysis of data using Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) method showed that physiological adaptation was the most important factor impacting achieved thermal comfort of occupants in two studies. Although the rankings of the latter two factors for the UK and China cases were reversed, the discrepancies were not significant. Highlights of originality • The skin physiological responses of human bodies with the considerations of different combinations of clothing activity levels are studied in real workplace environment by using wearable armband, which provides reliable data with comfortable wearing experience; • The skin physiological responses are identified as time-dependent. The sensitivities of mean skin temperature and GSR to the changes in magnitude of clothing and activity levels under various thermal conditions are identified by performing multiple comparisons. The corresponding discrepancies among combinations basically reach statistically significant level (P
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available