Examining Occupant-Comfort Responses to Indoor Humidity Ratio in Conventional and Vernacular Dwellings: A Rural Indian Case Study

Suchi Priyadarshani, Monto Mani, Roshan Rao, Dan Maskell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Optimum indoor humidity is often associated with comfort and overall well-being. Occupant comfort is often evaluated with a focus on “thermal comfort” using the PMV (predicted mean vote), PDD (predicted percentage of dissatisfied), and adaptive thermal comfort models. Humidity-determined comfort parameters, like skin and respiratory comfort, are well acknowledged in the scientific community, but strangely not considered for indoor comfort computations. This study proposes a new computational approach for describing and evaluating humidity-related skin comfort in buildings using skin temperature, evaporative loss, and skin wettedness as critical parameters. The Development and validation of the computational model was demonstrated through a case study in a rural Indian context. The case study involves real-time monitoring of indoor environmental parameters and humidity-determined occupant comfort votes recorded through a novel aggregated humidity comfort vote method. The simulation results were compared with the community comfort/health survey. It was observed that, even at neutral skin temperatures, an increase in skin wettedness increases the thermal sensation vote. Clothing varies according to gender, community, and personal preferences, influencing physiological parameters which determine comfort. The acceptable humidity ratio was found to be in the range of 17.4 to 22.6 g-wv/kg-da for Indian participants. Including humidity-related comfort parameters in building simulation tools would aid in selecting building materials for improved indoor comfort.
Original languageEnglish
Article number6843
Number of pages26
JournalEnergies
Volume16
Issue number19
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding: Part of this research was supported by The British Academy’s Well-being Achieved from Earthen Residence (WAFER) project (UWB190086) and partly through the Prime Minister’s Research Fellowship, India.

Data Availability Statement: Research data will be shared upon request.

Keywords

  • Gagge 2-node model
  • humidity ratio
  • indoor air quality
  • skin comfort
  • skin temperature
  • thermal comfort

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Optimization
  • Energy (miscellaneous)
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment

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