Indoor climate quality in low energy building: An occupant in-the-mix perspective by Dr. Asit Mishra

Location and Date: 
Friday, April 27,2018, 4:00 PM, F 24 (ME Building)


Buildings account for nearly a third of world primary energy consumption and thus are at the forefront of energy conservation efforts. A significant portion of building energy usage goes into maintaining their indoor climate as per occupant comfort needs. However, complaints from users, regarding indoor climate quality, persist. Under these circumstances, it stands to reason that the drive towards energy efficient buildings needs to be keenly aware of occupant needs. Any energy conservation measure undertaken without such consideration will end up adversely affecting occupant comfort and well-being. Such measures thus become unsustainable in the long run, often leading in turn to energy intensive retrofits. This presentation discusses works carried out regarding indoor thermal comfort that have endeavored to inculcate occupant input in formulating thermal comfort standards for buildings in the energy efficient operation of buildings. These works have relied on a mixed methods approach to postoccupancy evaluation of indoors where occupant feedback is collected along with physical measurement of indoor conditions. One of the inspirations behind these investigations has been the adaptive thermal comfort model. This model, over the past decade, has embedded itself firmly in main stream thermal comfort research. The model has guided a paradigm shift from passive occupants to responsive occupants who react to changes in their thermal environment and when given the opportunity, modify the same. The works discussed relate to these major topics: - Adaptive thermal comfort standards for classrooms in hot-humid climate - Exploiting occupant flexibility aspects in a smart grid environment for improving demandgeneration matching - Indoor climate quality, low energy buildings and occupant wellbeing The presentation ends with an overview of some of the ongoing works in this endeavor and discussions on envisioned directions for further research. The future necessitates a move towards better indoor monitoring and bringing occupant needs to the fore so that we can move from a curative to a preventive approach towards energy and comfort issues in buildings.

Biographical Sketch

Dr. Asit Kumar Mishra completed his Master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania while his Bachelor’s and PhD both have been from Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur. His educational background has been in Mechanical Engineering, specializing in the stream related to thermal sciences. His doctoral thesis explored sustainable thermal comfort standards for naturally ventilated classrooms in hot humid regions of India. The focus was on bringing an occupant centric approach to thermal comfort in low energy buildings. Following the completion of his PhD in August 2015, he worked as a postdoctoral researcher for a couple years in Eindhoven University of Technology’s Department of Built Environment and currently is a post-doctoral researcher in Aalto University’s Department of Mechanical Engineering. His post-doctoral work, while also examining suitable indoor climate quality requirements in low energy buildings, has further inculcated the concerns for occupant health and well being and delved into long term, non-intrusive monitoring as a means of achieving this.