Seasonal Thermal Sensation Vote - An indicator for long-term energy performance of dwellings with no HVAC systems

Cóstola, D. and Carreira, G. and Labaki, L.O. and Fernandes, L. (2019) Seasonal Thermal Sensation Vote - An indicator for long-term energy performance of dwellings with no HVAC systems. Energy and Buildings, 187. pp. 64-76. ISSN 0378-7788 (

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Dwellings with no heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are commonly found in many countries. The long-term thermal performance of these buildings can be assessed based on hourly data of occupant thermal discomfort integrated over the required timespan (e.g. total degree hours of discomfort per year). This approach can be easily applied when simulation is adopted in the assessment, but field studies using this approach are rare as they would require complex, costly and long measurement/survey campaigns. This paper addresses the challenges on conducting field studies on long-term thermal performance of dwellings with no HVAC system by introducing a novel performance indicator: the Seasonal Thermal Sensation Vote (S-TSV). S-TSV adopts the standard 7-point thermal sensation scale and is based on the perceived overall thermal sensation recalled by the user of the building for specific seasons and times of day. The new performance indicator is not intended to replace existing ones, but to complement them in the understanding of the complex thermal performance processes taking place in buildings with no HVAC. S-TSV was applied in a field study targeting a small sample of dwellings in Brazil. Results demonstrate the capabilities of S-TSV to describe trends in buildings performance in this sample. S-TSV also assisted on the identification of relationships between such performance and some independent variables addressed in this field study (e.g. windows operation, footwear and income), considering a threshold of p-values <0.05 on the chi-square statistic test.