Thermal Comfort Tool from the CBE (04-13-17)

At the web address below, the Center for the Built Environment at Berkeley shares a free tool for evaluating thermal comfort.

As the web page introducing the tool states, the CBE’s objectives were, in part, to “Develop a web-based graphical user interface for thermal comfort prediction according to ASHRAE Standard 55. Include models for conventional building systems (predicted mean vote) and also for comfort using the adaptive comfort model, and with increased air speeds (for example, when using fans for cooling).”

Thinking About Temperature: Consequences (03-23-17)

Halali and colleagues learned that just thinking about temperature has a serious effect on how our brains work.  After the researchers got people thinking about temperature, by, for example, showing them various landscapes “associated with cool vs. warm temperatures [and asking them to imagine themselves in the location shown] . . . . cool compared to warm temperatures lead to improved performance on . . .

Environmental Control: Repercussions (03-14-17)

Shahzad and her team studied some of the implications of user control over temperature in their work areas.  The investigators “compared a workplace, which was designed entirely based on individual control over the thermal environment, to an environment that limited thermal control was provided as a secondary option for fine-tuning: Norwegian cellular and British open plan offices. The Norwegian approach provided each user with control over a window, door, blinds, heating and cooling as the main thermal control system.

Stressors and Performance (02-23-17)

Lamb and Kwok looked at the effects of workplace stressors on performance.  They report on a study that collected data from office workers over 8 months: “Participants completed a total of 2261 online surveys measuring perceived thermal comfort, lighting comfort and noise annoyance, measures of work performance, and individual state factors underlying performance and wellbeing.

Temperature and Taking Risks (12-22-16)

Syndicus, Wiese, and van Treeck studied how temperature influences decision making, finding that at warmer temperatures people seem to take more risks.  The team reports that when “two groups . . . completed the aforementioned tasks either in a warm (≥ 30°C) or neutral (≤ 25°C) ambient temperature condition. Participants made significantly riskier decisions in the warm ambient temperature condition. . . Especially elevated ambient temperatures should, therefore, be monitored in office environments to prevent impairments of decision making.”

More On Regulating Circadian Rhythms (11-10-16)

Researchers from University College London have learned more about how non-visual experiences influence whether people’s circadian rhythms are synchronized with their location on the planet.  This coordination is important because when it is absent, people feel stressed.  The UCL team found via research with fruit flies that “Body clock function can break down when light and temperature levels throughout the day are out of sync. . . .


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