ASHRAE’s New Thermal Comfort Standard

New requirements regarding air speed, analysis, and documentation are included in the latest version of the ASHRAE thermal comfort standard, ASNI/ASHRAE Standard 55-2010, Thermal Environmental Conditions for Human Occupancy.

The standard continues to focus on defining the range of indoor thermal environmental conditions acceptable to a majority of occupants, while also accommodating an ever increasing variety of design solutions intended to provide comfort and to respect today’s imperative for sustainable buildings,” says Stephen Turner of the Standard 55 Committee. 

The standard specifies the combination of indoor thermal environmental factors and personal factors that will produce thermal environmental conditions acceptable to a majority of occupants.

This new 2010 standard includes a method for determining the cooling effect of air movement above .15 m/s (30 fpm). This allows ceiling fans to provide comfort at higher temperatures than previously permissible.

Another revision makes clearer the mandatory minimum requirements for analysis and documentation of a design to show that it meets the standard’s requirements. In addition, a compliance form for documentation of design is included in an informative appendix.

This compliance template mirrors the United States Green Building Council’s LEED template for the thermal comfort design credit in LEED New Constuction-2009, simplifying the LEED credit template for the designer during a project.

Standard 55 combines Standard 55-2004 and the 10 approved and published addenda to the 2004 edition into one easy-to-use, consolidated standard.

The cost of Standard 55 is $69 ($59, ASHRAE members), visit for more information.

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