If you feel comfortable sited in a room without worrying about the surrounding temperature, you are most likely experiencing what is known as thermal comfort. This is a situation which happens when the body is in state of comfort. When engineers are designing HVAC systems, they consider thermal comfort as a primary goal to satisfy their clients. It is achieved when the heat generated by humans is allowed to dissipate therefore creating temperature equilibrium.
Factors Influencing Thermal Comfort
1. Personal Factors
Personal factors like clothing and work rate affects how one feels in relation to temperature differences. For instance, one may wear less or more clothes to feel better or even engage in a activity which raises the work rate. These effects causes thermal discomfort.
2. Environmental conditions
Air speed, radiant and air temperatures as well as humidity affects thermal comfort. Flowing air creates uniformity in air temperature making room occupants feel comfortable. Heat radiating from hot points affects the surrounding temperature as it affects how the human body gains or loses heat. When humidity is high, the body tends to sweat as a means of reducing heat whereas low humidity translates to less sweating in order to conserve heat.
Measuring Thermal Comfort
To establish how comfortable your employees feel about their surrounding environment, you may need a thermal comfort checklist to assess their needs. Using the employees, an employer may use problems identified and carry out adjustment and possibly improve thermal comfort. When discomfort is an issue, you may need to use risk analysis. If thermal comfort is affected by personal factors, risk assessment is done using the type of clothing where an yearly risk assessment may also be needed.
Control Thermal Comfort
In order to control thermal comfort, control the environment. This include monitoring humidity and air temperatures. Distance your employees from the sources of heat and cold. This may be done through insulation. Control your tasks by automation and limiting exposure time. In addition, employees may adapt to changes, change behavioral adaptation as well as controlling individual employees through supervising and training may regulate thermal comfort.
Thermal comfort plays a vital role in employee productivity. Therefore investing in quality HVAC may help you have the perfect environment for your employees.
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