Engineers need an answer

It was very amusing to hear that engineers at the most prominent engineering consultancies are failing to find the answer. The incessant need to find answers is sometimes the engineers fruitless fuel especially in the area of thermal comfort. Thermal comfort is not an engineering problem as there is no real one answer. This is not to say that engineering systems that fail to meet standard industry environmental requirements are not to be questioned but it is relevant to say that not everyone can be pleased all of the time.  Thermal comfort has no answer as comfortable conditions are a matter of perception and personal opinion. Occupancy surveys can provide data which can be analysed  to determine the most agreeable conditions for a particular environment but this a statistical analysis where the majority criteria can be determined and selected. Environmental engineering systems for thermal comfort must be designed for flexibility whereby occupants are given the opportunity to provide regular feed back into the controls system. The set points of the system can then be regulated to meet the requirements of the majority. And for the few, well “they need to eat more or put on a jumper” as the young technician I remember would say.

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