An Investigation of the Effect of a Building's Characteristics on the Thermal Environment of Naturally Ventilated Educational Offices

  • Michelle Lakeridou

Student thesis: Masters ThesisMPhil


With the climate change, temperatures are expected to increase, making the installation of airconditioning units in naturally ventilated offices tempting for occupants. The attraction is a quick solution to counteract their thermal discomfort, however, air‐conditioning units lead to higher energy demands and increased CO2 levels. This study investigates the effect of a building’s characteristics on achieving thermally comfortable indoor environments in naturally ventilated offices, and in the process highlighting key areas which require further research to find alternative solutions to achieve thermal comfort. The research focused on educational buildings, with two buildings of different thermal mass located at the University of Bath being used as case studies. The findings suggest that the thermal capacity of a building and the number of occupants per office can play a key role in achieving thermal comfort. Thermal capacity is the most important issue in achieving comfortable indoor temperatures. The second most important factor appears to be the number of occupants in the offices, with the single‐occupancy offices being more comfortable for the occupants than multi‐occupancy offices. Orientation has the least effect on the thermal sensation of the occupants, with east‐facing offices being more prone to overheating than offices of other orientations and thus should be avoided. These findings highlight key areas to be addressed when constructing or refurbishing naturally ventilated educational offices in the UK in order to avoid the installation of air‐conditioning units.
Date of Award1 Jul 2010
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorMaria-Heleni Nikolopoulou (Supervisor) & Sukumar Natarajan (Supervisor)


  • thermal mass
  • thermal comfort
  • naturally ventilated offices

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