Assessing Environmental Comfort – Towards a systemic quantitative and qualitative approach

This paper presents the preliminary results of the first stage of a research grant from SSHRCC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada) on the control of physical ambiences and the nature of internal-external transactions in a Nordic climate. The main objective of this research is to investigate the impact of environmental step-changes on the sensation of comfort in order to diminish the thermal gradient between indoor and outdoor in Nordic climate without sacrificing comfort. This, in parallel with the recent adaptive model for thermal comfort, could serve reducing further the energy consumption in buildings. The first stage of research consisted in the development of the combined quantitative and qualitative method for the assessment of global environmental comfort in transient conditions based on previous work by the author. The quantitative measurement of ambient conditions is assessed by a portable array whilst the qualitative aspects of comfort are assessed via an extensive WEB based questionnaire. The theoretical background behind that research and the development of the portable array and electronic questionnaires are the main subject of this paper.