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Creation of a database to help better understand human thermal comfort in residential and commercial buildings is being funded through an ASHRAE grant program.
Veronika Foldvary, a visiting Ph.D. student at the Center for the Built Environment (CBE), University of California, Berkeley, is one of 18 students who will receive a grant through the ASHRAE Graduate Student Grant-In-Aid Award Program, which is designed to encourage students to continue their education in preparation for service in the HVACR industry. The grants, totaling $180,000, are awarded to full-time graduate students of ASHRAE-related technologies.
The project would identify previous thermal comfort and occupant responses in residential and commercial buildings worldwide. Foldvary plans to collect data to construct an international database, which would include measurements of all the physical conditions affecting thermal comfort (air temperature, humidity, air movement, radiant temperature and occupant clothing and metabolic rate) plus subjective surveys (thermal sensation, comfort, perceived air quality and wherever possible, adaptive behavior and interaction with building controls).
“The database would be used to analyze trends in thermal comfort and behavior patterns and evaluate current comfort prediction tools, as well as their relevance to different building types, climates, cultures and demographics,” Foldvary said. “We would convene discussion groups to address issues of data analysis and representation to ensure its usefulness to the global research community. The analysis will provide the evidence base for developing improved international standards.”
Other grant recipients are:
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