Human Comfort Zone

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What is It?

The human comfort zone refers to the range of temperature, air movement, and humidity conditions that most people will find comfortable most of the time (80%)??.

  • Also known as: thermal comfort zone

Why is it Important?

  • Strengthens our relationship to the earth -- changing the thermostat's setting has energy-use consequences.
  • Encourages cooperative interactions -- need to find consensus when one person's "too hot" may be another person's "too cold."
  • Affects worker productivity.

When to Use It?

  • Use the human comfort zone as a guide for set points for HVAC controls.
  • Because different people experience different comfort levels, the comfort zone is only a guide and not an absolute.

Green Garage Use of the Human Comfort Zone

Sustainability Goals
  • Use passive design systems as much as possible to maintain building conditions within the human comfort zone.
  • We are looking for a balance point between human comfort and energy use. We need to be responsible personally and on a community level for this balance.
  • Setting the thermostat at the low end of the human comfort zone in the winter and at the high end in the summer enables us to specify smaller HVAC equipment while still keeping building occupants comfortable.
Strategy and Conceptual Design
  • The Green Garage design target comfort zone is:
    • Maximum: 78 F (summer)
    • Minimum: 68 F (winter)
    • Relative Humidity (RH): 30% - 60% RH
    • Ideal condition is temperatures between 68-78 F and 45% RH year round
  • There is a relationship between temperature, humidity and comfort.
    • People will be comfortable with higher temperatures in the summer (above 78 F) if the air is moving and/or the relative humidity is low (near 30%).
    • People will be comfortable with lower temperatures in the winter (below 68 F) if the air is still and/or the relative humidity is high (near 60%).
  • Our thermostat and humidity set points will be targeted to be within the ideal condition of the human comfort zone in all seasons.

Development Story

The Human Comfort Zone - Development Story page contains many images and videos documenting the process used at the Green Garage to design for the human comfort zone.

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