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Unit I Climate and human Comfort

 Factors that determine climate of a place

 Components of Climate
 Climate classifications for building designers in tropics
 Climate characteristics
 Human body heat balance
 Human body heat loss
 Effects of climatic factors on human body heat loss
 Effective temperature
 Human thermal comfort
 Use of C.Mahony’s tables.
The factors that determine the climates, on a global scale are,

 Solar radiation
 Tilt of the earth's axis
 Radiation at the earth's surface
 The earth's thermal balance
 Winds
 Annual wind shifts
 Topography

Components of Climate are,

 Temperature
 Humidity
 Vapour pressure
 Precipitation
 Driving rain
 Sky conditions
 Solar radiation
 Wind
 Special characteristics
 Vegetation

Climate classifications for building designers in tropics

 Warm-humid climate
 Warm-humid island climate
 Hot-dry desert climate
 Hot-dry maritime desert climate
 Composite or monsoon climate
 Tropical upland climate

Climate characteristics

 Air temperature
 Humidity
 Precipitation
 Sky conditions
 Solar radiation
 Winds
 Vegetation
 Special characteristics
Human body heat loss and heat balance

The deep body temperature must remain balanced and constant around 37°C. In order to maintain body
temperature at this steady level, all surplus heat must be dissipated to the environment.

The body can release heat to its environment by

 Convection- is due to heat transmission from the body to the air in contact with the skin or
clothing which then rises and is replaced by cooler air. The rate of convective heat loss is
increased by a faster rate of air movement, by a lower air temperature and a higher skin
 Radiation - heat loss depends on the temperature of the body surface and the temperature of
opposing surfaces.
 Evaporation - heat loss is governed by the rate of evaporation, which in turn depends on the
humidity of air (the dryer the air, the faster the evaporation) and on the amount of moisture
available for evaporation. Evaporation takes place in the lungs through breathing, and on the
skin as imperceptible perspiration and sweat.
 Conduction - depends on the temperature difference between the body surface and the object
the body is in direct contact with.

The thermal balance of the body is shown in the figure and can be expressed by an equation.

If the heat gain and heat loss factors are:

Gain: Met = metabolism (basal and muscular)

Cnd = conduction (contact with warm bodies)

Cnv = convection (if the air is warmer than the skin)

Rad = radiation (from the sun, the sky and hot bodies)
Loss: Cnd = conduction (contact with cold bodies)

Cnv = convection (if the air is cooler than the skin)

Rad = radiation (to night sky and cold surfaces)

Evp = evaporation (of moisture and sweat)

then thermal balance exists when

Met – Evp ± Cnd ± Cnv ± Rad = 0

Effects of climatic factors on human body heat loss

Examples to show how the four climatic variables affect the heat dissipation processes of the human
body for various indoor conditions

 Calm, warm air, moderate humidity

 Hot air and considerable radiation
 Hot air, radiation and appreciable air movement
 Saturated, still air, above body temperature
Effective temperature (ET)

The first such scale was produced by Houghton and Yaglou in 1923, working at the American Society of
Heating and Ventilating Engineers. Their findings were plotted on a psychrometric chart, producing
'equal comfort lines' They named the new scale as effective temperature and it can be defined as the
temperature of a still, saturated atmosphere, which would, in the absence of radiation, produce the
same effect as the atmosphere in question. In 1947 Yaglou slightly revised the scale, but other
modifications also became generally accepted.

Corrected effective temperature (CET)

Whilst the ET scale integrates the effects of three variables – originally of temperature and humidity but
a later form included air movement – the corrected effective temperature scale also includes radiation
effects. This scale is at present the most widely used one, therefore it will be described in much greater
detail in the following section.

Comfort zone
Effective temperature nomogram for persons wearing normal business clothing

The comfort zone

The range of conditions within which at least 80% of the people would feel comfortable, can be termed
'comfort zone'. It is shown superimposed on the CET nomogram.

On the basis of Singapore and Australian data it seems to be justified to adopt the values given in the
last line of the table as valid for most tropical climates. The 22 and 27°C ET limits are indicated on the

The comfort zone must also be limited in terms of air velocities. Below 0.15 m/s, even if all other
conditions are satisfactory, most people would complain of stuffiness'. Above 1.5 m/s the air movement
can produce secondary or side- effects which may be annoying, such as papers blown about, ashtrays
swept clean and dust stirred up. This is not a rigid limit: under hot and humid conditions people may put
up with such minor annoyances for the sake of some thermal relief, but not under less severe
conditions. The average value is taken as 1.5 m/s.

Thus the shaded quadrangle limited by the CET lines 22 and 27°C and by the velocity lines 0.15 and 1.5
m/s indicates the 'comfort zone' or the range of conditions found comfortable in most tropical climates.