Adjusting building thermostats for environmental gains – understanding the issues

This note was reviewed and approved for currency in October 2018.

There has been increasing reliance on mechanical heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems to achieve thermal comfort in office buildings. The use of universal standards for thermal comfort adopted in air-conditioned spaces often results in a large disparity between mean daily external summer temperatures and temperatures experienced indoors. The extensive overuse of air-conditioning in warm climates not only isolates us from the vagaries of the external environment, but is generally dependent on non-renewable energy.

A pilot study conducted at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) involved altering the thermostat set-points to two or three degrees above the normal summer setting in two air-conditioned buildings during the subtropical summer.  This paper presents the findings of the research that led to the formulation of the test study. The findings of the test study are printed in the companion paper: Adjusting building thermastats for environmental gains – a pilot study.

note summary
  1. Introduction
  2. Energy usage in the commercial building sector
  3. Thermal comfort standards
  4. Local versus central control
  5. Building design
  6. Summary of current literature
  7. Application of data
  8. Conclusion