In creating a comfortable working environment in office buildings, thermal comfort is one the factor to be considered forit affects building occupants’ satisfaction. The common guideline such as ASHRAE Standard 55 and ISO Standard 7730 do provide reference on thermal comfort and optimum temperature range for indoor environment.
However, it is not a universal reference for all regions and types of building. Tropical country such as Malaysia with hot and humid climate could have different thermal comfortable range.
The research titled “Thermal Comfort Study in Government Office Building” by Dr. Choong Weng Wai from Centre for Real Estate, Faculty of Geoinformation and Real Estate (FGRE), Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) and Mohd Suharizal Mahamad Subri from Jabatan Kerja Raya, Cawangan Kejuruteraan Mekanikal Kedah, Master Student in Asset and Facilities Management, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia embarks on finding the optimum temperature range for occupants in Malaysian government office building. The finding of this research is derived from Master Project of Facilities Management, offered in FGRE.
An experimental study has been conducted in a government office building with typical layout located at Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia. Building occupants from two government departmentsare voluntarily participate to fill in a series of questionnaires regarding their thermal comfort vote and preferences in a control temperature setting, for continuously five days, from 7 to 11 March 2011 during office hours.
The measurements of environmental parameter were conducted for three times, tentatively at 9.00 am, 12.00 pm and 3.00 pm. Then, the indoor room temperature is preset to the desired setting temperature. The temperature was set to different temperature scale (230C, 240C, 250C, 260C and 270C) for each day.
To complement the study, a set of questionnaire has been designed and distributed to occupants. The designs of the questionnaires are adopted from the existing standard of thermal comfort for human occupancy, including ASHRAE Standard 55/2004 and UNI EN ISO 7730.
In this survey, the respondent’s current status of thermal comfort will be asked by using different scales such as thermal sensation, preferences, overall comfort and acceptability. Various comfort scales are being used in this section to determine respondents’ subjective rating of their thermal condition in their current and immediate room environment.
Before the questionnaires being distributed, a short explanation about the survey, objectives of the research and importance of their responses to this study were presented to the respondents. All respondentswere allowed to answer the questionnaires approximately for half hour before colleting the questionnaires. The procedure is repeated for duration period of five days which the questionnaires were distributed approximately during 11.00 am to 11.30 am.
The findings in this studysuggested the thermal comfort zone is between 240C to 250C with relative humidity of 50% to 65%. The results suggested that in a typical air conditioning government office building, the indoor temperature set point could be adjusted to such temperatures range to satisfy 80% occupants thermal comfort satisfaction.
The research findings is very relevant and concurrent to the recent announcement by Government of Malaysia, which ordered government offices to set their air-condition temperature no lower than 24 degrees Celcius.