Instruments and methods in outdoor thermal comfort studies – the need for standardization

Erik Johansson*, Sofia Thorsson, Rohinton Emmanuel, Eduardo Krüger

*Corresponding author for this work

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    Abstract

    In this paper we review instruments and methods used to assess outdoor thermal comfort and subjective thermal perception in 26 studies reported in the literature during the last decade, covering a wide range of climates and geographical contexts. We found a great variety of instruments and methods used to measure meteorological variables, especially with respect to the mean radiant temperature and wind speed. Moreover, many different subjective judgement scales were used to assess subjective thermal perception, thermal neutrality and thermal preference and a multitude of thermal indices were used to quantify the combined effect of meteorological variables on thermal perception. The use of a variety of methods makes it difficult to compare results of the different studies. There is thus a need for standardization and to give guidance regarding how to conduct field surveys in outdoor environments. Such standards and guidelines should give advice regarding the choice of measurement sites, type and positioning of instruments, appropriate methods to determine the mean radiant temperature, questionnaire design and suitable thermal comfort indices. These guidelines should also include advice on reporting.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)346–366
    Number of pages21
    JournalUrban Climate
    Volume10
    Issue number2
    Early online date21 Jan 2014
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014

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    Keywords

    • outdoor thermal comfort assessment
    • micrometeorological measurements
    • questionnaire surveys
    • thermal indices
    • thermal perception
    • thermal comfort standards

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