People's subjective response to any thermal environment is commonly investigated by using rating scales describing the degree of thermal sensation, comfort, and acceptability. Subsequent analyses of results collected in this way rely on the assumption that specific distances between verbal anchors placed on the scale exist and that relationships between verbal anchors from different dimensions that are assessed (e.g. thermal sensation and comfort) do not change. Another inherent assumption is that such scales are independent of the context in which they are used (climate zone, season, etc.). Despite their use worldwide, there is indication that contextual differences influence the way the scales are perceived and therefore question the reliability of the scales’ interpretation. To address this issue, a large international collaborative questionnaire study was conducted in 26 countries, using 21 different languages, which led to a dataset of 8225 questionnaires. Results, analysed by means of robust statistical techniques, revealed that only a subset of the responses are in accordance with the mentioned assumptions. Significant differences appeared between groups of participants in their perception of the scales, both in relation to distances of the anchors and relationships between scales. It was also found that respondents’ interpretations of scales changed with contextual factors, such as climate, season, and language. These findings highlight the need to carefully consider context-dependent factors in interpreting and reporting results from thermal comfort studies or post-occupancy evaluations, as well as to revisit the use of rating scales and the analysis methods used in thermal comfort studies to improve their reliability.
|Journal||Energy and Buildings|
|Publication status||Published - 2020 Mar 15|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The project was performed within the framework of the International Energy Agency - Energy in Buildings and Communities Program (IEA-EBC) Annex69 “Strategy and Practice of Adaptive Thermal Comfort in Low Energy Buildings”. www.iea-ebc.org, www.annex69.org. M.Sch. S.B. and K.S-E. Acknowledge funding by the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities within the project “Thermal comfort and pain”. F.A-A. and the research related to Jordan was supported by M.Sch. B.C. is thankful to the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 51521005 and No. 51678330). C.C. is thankful to National Research Foundation of Korea (No. NRF-2017R1A2B4012122), J.C. is thankful to the U.S. National Science Foundation (No. 1707068), S.D-A. is thankful for the funding support of the TEP-130 R&D group from the US. L.P.E. would like to thank IITM, India for the support and DAAD for the scholarship, S.G. would like to thank the Sustainable Energy Research Group (energy.soton.ac.uk) for supporting this work. R.T.H. would like to thank the Obelske Familiefond, Denmark for supporting this work. G.M.H was supported by Research Councils UK (RCUK) Centre for Energy Epidemiology (EP/K011839/1) and UK Research and Innovation through the Centre for Research into Energy Demand Solutions, grant reference number EP/R 035288/1. Q.J. acknowledges the funding by Chalmers Energy Area of Advance. B.K. is thankful for Heatshield, under EU Horizon 2020 grant agreement No 668786 and the Ministerie van Defensie (SOLAR V1605). M.C.J.L. would thank for MOST Taiwan and NTCUST to support the funding and measure instruments. W.O. is supported by General Research Fund, Research Grant Council, Hong Kong (Project code: 14629516) and Vice-Chancellor's One-off Discretionary Fund of the Chinese University of Hong Kong. V.S.‘s involvement in the project was partially funded through the Special Study Program provided by The Faculty of Professions, University of Adelaide. DT would like to thank Vinnova (Sweden's Innovation Agency), The statistical analysis was conducted by M.Sch. R.T.H. S.B. G.M.H. and J.K.; R.T.H. developed the design for Figs. 4, 5, 7 to 9, which were implemented into R code by M.Sch. All authors were involved in the preparation of individual applications, data collection of one or more applications, and reviewing the manuscript. The authors are thankful to the following additional researchers supporting data collection or preparation of questionnaires: Eleni Alexandrou (University of Athens, Greece), Dr Gráinne McGill (Glasgow School of Art, United Kingdom), Amar Abdul-Zahra (University of Technology, Iraq), Dr. N.C.Balaji and Ms. Nikitha V. Anand (Department of Civil Engineering, The National Institute of Engineering, Mysuru, India), Renate Kania (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany), Dalal Al-Khatri, Noor Alhuda Al-Saqri, and Maryam Al-Bartamani, Zhihe Wang (University of Southern California, U.S.), Miguel Angel Campano (Universidad de Sevilla), Andrés Chico, Freddy Ordoñez, Jesús López (Escuela Politécnica Nacional – EPN), Ricardo Narváez (Universidad Central del Ecuador), Guillermo Soriano (Escuela Superior Politécnica del Litoral - ESPOL), Daniel Quiroz (Universidad Regional Amazónica Ikiam), Stalin Guamán (Universidad Regional Amazónica Ikiam), Prof Mahena Stief, Dr. Julia Sonnberger, Stefan Keller, Prof Markus Reppich, Prof Michael Krupp, Jan-Olof Dalenbäck, Holger Wallbaum, Björn Gross, Ulrike Rahe, Prof. Jørn Toftum (DTU, Denmark), Yi-Cheng Lei, Eugene Leung, Bentley Rager, Rachel Rimmer, Kelly Schoenborn, Tadeo Nedala, Menelik Tibikabire, Prof Bruce Lonnman, Yi-Cheng Lei.
Q.J. acknowledges the funding by Chalmers Energy Area of Advance.
B.K. is thankful for Heatshield, under EU Horizon 2020 grant agreement No 668786 and the Ministerie van Defensie (SOLAR V1605).
J.C. is thankful to the U.S. National Science Foundation (No. 1707068 )
R.T.H. would like to thank the Obelske Familiefond , Denmark for supporting this work.
S.D-A. is thankful for the funding support of the TEP-130 R&D group from the US.
C.C. is thankful to National Research Foundation of Korea (No. NRF-2017R1A2B4012122 )
L.P.E. would like to thank IITM, India for the support and DAAD for the scholarship
G.M.H was supported by Research Councils UK (RCUK) Centre for Energy Epidemiology ( EP/K011839/1 ) and UK Research and Innovation through the Centre for Research into Energy Demand Solutions, grant reference number EP/R 035288/1.
F.A-A. and the research related to Jordan was supported by M.Sch.
S.G. would like to thank the Sustainable Energy Research Group (energy.soton.ac.uk) for supporting this work.
B.C. is thankful to the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 51521005 and No. 51678330 ).
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Civil and Structural Engineering
- Building and Construction
- Mechanical Engineering
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering