Matching Items (7)

Impact of Shade on Outdoor Thermal Comfort: A Seasonal Field Study in Tempe, Arizona

Description

Shade plays an important role in designing pedestrian-friendly outdoor spaces in hot desert cities. This study investigates the impact of photovoltaic canopy shade and tree shade on thermal comfort through

Shade plays an important role in designing pedestrian-friendly outdoor spaces in hot desert cities. This study investigates the impact of photovoltaic canopy shade and tree shade on thermal comfort through meteorological observations and field surveys at a pedestrian mall on Arizona State University’s Tempe campus. During the course of 1 year, on selected clear calm days representative of each season, we conducted hourly meteorological transects from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and surveyed 1284 people about their thermal perception, comfort, and preferences. Shade lowered thermal sensation votes by approximately 1 point on a semantic differential 9-point scale, increasing thermal comfort in all seasons except winter. Shade type (tree or solar canopy) did not significantly impact perceived comfort, suggesting that artificial and natural shades are equally efficient in hot dry climates. Globe temperature explained 51 % of the variance in thermal sensation votes and was the only statistically significant meteorological predictor. Important non-meteorological factors included adaptation, thermal comfort vote, thermal preference, gender, season, and time of day. A regression of subjective thermal sensation on physiological equivalent temperature yielded a neutral temperature of 28.6 °C. The acceptable comfort range was 19.1 °C–38.1 °C with a preferred temperature of 20.8 °C. Respondents exposed to above neutral temperature felt more comfortable if they had been in air-conditioning 5 min prior to the survey, indicating a lagged response to outdoor conditions. Our study highlights the importance of active solar access management in hot urban areas to reduce thermal stress.

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Date Created
  • 2016-05-18

Opportunities and Challenges for Personal Heat Exposure Research

Description

Background:
Environmental heat exposure is a public health concern. The impacts of environmental heat on mortality and morbidity at the population scale are well documented, but little is known about

Background:
Environmental heat exposure is a public health concern. The impacts of environmental heat on mortality and morbidity at the population scale are well documented, but little is known about specific exposures that individuals experience.

Objectives:
The first objective of this work was to catalyze discussion of the role of personal heat exposure information in research and risk assessment. The second objective was to provide guidance regarding the operationalization of personal heat exposure research methods.

Discussion:
We define personal heat exposure as realized contact between a person and an indoor or outdoor environment that poses a risk of increases in body core temperature and/or perceived discomfort. Personal heat exposure can be measured directly with wearable monitors or estimated indirectly through the combination of time–activity and meteorological data sets. Complementary information to understand individual-scale drivers of behavior, susceptibility, and health and comfort outcomes can be collected from additional monitors, surveys, interviews, ethnographic approaches, and additional social and health data sets. Personal exposure research can help reveal the extent of exposure misclassification that occurs when individual exposure to heat is estimated using ambient temperature measured at fixed sites and can provide insights for epidemiological risk assessment concerning extreme heat.

Conclusions:
Personal heat exposure research provides more valid and precise insights into how often people encounter heat conditions and when, where, to whom, and why these encounters occur. Published literature on personal heat exposure is limited to date, but existing studies point to opportunities to inform public health practice regarding extreme heat, particularly where fine-scale precision is needed to reduce health consequences of heat exposure.

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Date Created
  • 2017-08

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Building Better Engagement - An Approach To Improving Student Engagement in Higher Education Environments

Description

Many student engagement studies take a holistic view of the student experience at a university setting, which includes factors both inside and outside of the classroom. However, most engagement improvements

Many student engagement studies take a holistic view of the student experience at a university setting, which includes factors both inside and outside of the classroom. However, most engagement improvements focus on activities outside of the classroom. Some research regarding improving teaching styles and activities shows an impact on engagement, but little research has investigated the impact of the built environment on student engagement. This paper explores the definition of student engagement, what environmental variables affect building occupant performance, and specifically addresses how environmental variables can impact student engagement. The authors provide a review of literature discussing these variables as well as propose a method for quantifying the impact of the built environment on students based on results of a preliminary study. Evidence of a relationship between human comfort and student engagement can provide an argument for how thoughtful building designs can improve student success and engineering education. It can further extend to industry settings where green building design can lower operating costs and improve worker satisfaction and productivity.

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Date Created
  • 2014-05

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Characterizing sustainable performance and human thermal comfort in designed landscapes of Southwest desert cities

Description

During summer 2014, a study was conducted as part of the Landscape Architecture Foundation Case Study Investigation to analyze features of three sustainably designed landscapes. Each project was located in

During summer 2014, a study was conducted as part of the Landscape Architecture Foundation Case Study Investigation to analyze features of three sustainably designed landscapes. Each project was located in a southwest desert city: Civic Space Park in Phoenix, AZ, the Pete V. Domenici US Courthouse Sustainable Landscape Retrofit in Albuquerque, NM, and George "Doc" Cavalliere Park in Scottsdale, AZ. The principal components of each case study were performance benefits that quantified ongoing ecosystem services. Performance benefits were developed from data provided by the designers and collected by the research team. The functionality of environmental, social, and economic sustainable features was evaluated. In southwest desert cities achieving performance benefits such as microclimate cooling often come at the cost of water conservation. In each of these projects such tradeoffs were balanced by prioritizing the project goals and constraints.

During summer 2015, a study was conducted to characterize effects of tree species and shade structures on outdoor human thermal comfort under hot, arid conditions. Motivating the research was the hypothesis that tree species and shade structures will vary in their capacity to improve thermal comfort due to their respective abilities to attenuate solar radiation. Micrometeorological data was collected in full sun and under shade of six landscape tree species and park ramadas in Phoenix, AZ during pre-monsoon summer afternoons. The six landscape tree species included: Arizona ash (Fraxinus velutina Torr.), Mexican palo verde (Parkinsonia aculeata L.), Aleppo pine (Pinus halepensis Mill.), South American mesquite (Prosopis spp. L.), Texas live oak (Quercus virginiana for. fusiformis Mill.), and Chinese elm (Ulmus parvifolia Jacq.). Results showed that the tree species and ramadas were not similarly effective at improving thermal comfort, represented by physiologically equivalent temperature (PET). The difference between PET in full sun and under shade was greater under Fraxinus and Quercus than under Parkinsonia, Prosopis, and ramadas by 2.9-4.3 °C. Radiation was a significant driver of PET (p<0.0001, R2=0.69) and with the exception of ramadas, lower radiation corresponded with lower PET. Variations observed in this study suggest selecting trees or structures that attenuate the most solar radiation is a potential strategy for optimizing PET.

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Date Created
  • 2016

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Evaluating different green school building designs for Albania: indoor thermal comfort, energy use analysis with solar systems

Description

Improving the conditions of schools in many parts of the world is gradually acquiring importance. The Green School movement is an integral part of this effort since it aims at

Improving the conditions of schools in many parts of the world is gradually acquiring importance. The Green School movement is an integral part of this effort since it aims at improving indoor environmental conditions. This would in turn, enhance student- learning while minimizing adverse environmental impact through energy efficiency of comfort-related HVAC and lighting systems. This research, which is a part of a larger research project, aims at evaluating different school building designs in Albania in terms of energy use and indoor thermal comfort, and identify energy efficient options of existing schools. We start by identifying three different climate zones in Albania; Coastal (Durres), Hill/Pre-mountainous (Tirana), mountainous (Korca). Next, two prototypical school building designs are identified from the existing stock. Numerous scenarios are then identified for analysis which consists of combinations of climate zone, building type, building orientation, building upgrade levels, presence of renewable energy systems (solar photovoltaic and solar water heater). The existing building layouts, initially outlined in CAD software and then imported into a detailed building energy software program (eQuest) to perform annual simulations for all scenarios. The research also predicted indoor thermal comfort conditions of the various scenarios on the premise that windows could be opened to provide natural ventilation cooling when appropriate. This study also estimated the energy generated from solar photovoltaic systems and solar water heater systems when placed on the available roof area to determine the extent to which they are able to meet the required electric loads (plug and lights) and building heating loads respectively.

The results showed that there is adequate indoor comfort without the need for mechanical cooling for the three climate zones, and that only heating is needed during the winter months.

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Date Created
  • 2015

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Extreme Heat and Urban Densification in Downtown Tempe

Description

This study aims to examine the relationship between urban densification and pedestrian thermal comfort at different times of the year, and to understand how this can impact patterns of activity

This study aims to examine the relationship between urban densification and pedestrian thermal comfort at different times of the year, and to understand how this can impact patterns of activity in downtown areas. The focus of the research is on plazas in the urban core of downtown Tempe, given their importance to the pedestrian landscape. With that in mind, the research question for the study is: how does the microclimate of a densifying urban core affect thermal comfort in plazas at different times of the year? Based on the data, I argue that plazas in downtown Tempe are not maximally predisposed to pedestrian thermal comfort in the summer or the fall. Thus, the proposed intervention to improve thermal comfort in downtown Tempe’s plazas is the implementation of decision support tools focused on education, community engagement, and thoughtful building designs for heat safety.

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Date Created
  • 2020-05

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Vulnerability of U.S. residential building stock to heat: status quo, trends, mitigation strategies, and the role of energy efficiency

Description

Thermal extremes are responsible for more than 90% of all weather-related deaths in the United States, with heat alone accounting for an annual death toll of 618. With the combination

Thermal extremes are responsible for more than 90% of all weather-related deaths in the United States, with heat alone accounting for an annual death toll of 618. With the combination of global warming and urban expansion, cities are becoming hotter and the threat to the well-being of citizens in urban areas is growing. Because people in modern societies (and in particular, vulnerable groups such as the elderly) spend most of their time inside their home, indoor exposure to heat is the underlying cause in a considerable fraction of heat-related morbidity and mortality. Notably, this can be observed in many US cities despite the high prevalence of mechanical air conditioning in the building stock. Therefore, part of the effort to reducing the overall vulnerability of urban populations to heat needs to be dedicated to understanding indoor exposure, its underlying behavioral and physical mechanisms, health outcomes, and possible mitigation strategies. This dissertation is an effort to advance the knowledge in these areas. The cities of Houston, TX, Phoenix, AZ, and Los Angeles, CA, are used as test beds to assess exposure and vulnerability to indoor heat among people 65 and older. Measurements and validated whole-building simulations were used in conjunction with heat-vulnerability surveys and epidemiological modelling (of collaborators) to (1) understand how building characteristics and practices govern indoor exposure to heat among the elderly; (2) evaluate mechanical air conditioning as a reliable protective factor against indoor exposure to heat; and (3) identify potential impacts from the evolving building stock and a warming urban climate. The results show strong associations between indoor heat exposure and certain health outcomes and highlight the vulnerability of elderly populations to heat despite the prevalence of air conditioning systems. Given the current construction practices and urban warming trends, this vulnerability will continue to grow. Therefore, policies promoting climate adaptive buildings features, as well as better access to reliable and affordable AC are needed. In addition, this research draws attention to the significant potential health consequences of large-scale power outages and proposes the implementation of passive survivability in regulations as one important preventative action.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2019