The role of clothing in thermal comfort: how people dress in a temperate and humid climate in Brazil

De Vecchi, R.; Lamberts, R.; Candido, C.
Ambiente Construído

Thermal insulation from clothing is one of the most important input variables used to predict the thermal comfort of a building’s occupants. This paper investigates the clothing pattern in buildings with different configurations located in a temperate and humid climate in Brazil. Occupants of two kinds of buildings (three offices and two university classrooms) assessed their thermal environment through ‘right-here-right-now’ questionnaires, while at the same time indoor climatic measurements were carried out in situ (air temperature and radiant temperature, air speed and humidity). A total of 5,036 votes from 1,161 occupants were collected. Results suggest that the clothing values adopted by occupants inside buildings were influenced by: 1) climate and seasons of the year; 2) different configurations and indoor thermal conditions; and 3) occupants’ age and gender. Significant intergenerational and gender differences were found, which might be explained by differences in metabolic rates and fashion. The results also indicate that there is a great opportunity to exceed the clothing interval of the thermal comfort zones proposed by international standards such as ASHRAE 55 (2013) - 0.5 to 1.0 clo - and thereby save energy from cooling and heating systems, without compromising the occupants’ indoor thermal comfort.