The need to identify occupants’ behaviour-responses to thermal discomfort during the heating season has become one of the priorities in the quest to reduce energy demand. The current models have long been associated with people’s behaviour by predicting their state of thermal comfort or rather discomfort. These assumed that occupants would act upon their level of discomfort through two-types of response set as involuntary mechanisms of thermoregulation, and behaviour-responses. Surprisingly, little research has focused on the behavioural aspect, and one of the key challenges is to gather accurate measurements while using ‘discreet’, sensor based, observatory methods in order to have minimum impact on people’s behaviour. To address these issues, this paper introduces a mixed-methods approach that enabled the establishment of a three-tiered framework mapping behaviour-responses to cold sensations, consisting of (1) increasing clothing insulation level (Icl), (2) increasing operative temperature by turning the heating system on/up, and (3) increasing the frequency, duration and/or amplitude of localised behaviour responses, including for example warm food or drink intake, changing position, changing location within the same room or changing room. Drawing from this framework, this paper introduces an extended model of thermal discomfort response that incorporates a wider range of observed behaviours.
The gap between what is said and what is done: a method for distinguishing reported and observed responses to cold thermal discomfort
8th Windsor Conference, 10-13 April, 2014, Windsor UK