How the comfort requirements can be used to assess and design low energy buildings: testing the EN 15251 comfort evaluation procedure in 4 buildings

Year: 2020

Authors: Paolo Zangheri, Lorenzo Pagliano & Roberto Armani

In the last years, one of the primary objectives of a building – that of offering a comfortable environment for human occupation – has been more explicitly defined and brought to the center of design, construction, operation and evaluation of buildings by a number of co-evolving elements. These might be listed as the wider availability of laboratory-grade measurement instruments for monitoring in the field, the growing number of comfort monitoring and survey data, the continuing research efforts on the subject and the connected evolution of international standards related to comfort.

An important aim of the new Standard EN 15251 is to specify the indoor environmental parameters which have an impact on the energy performance of buildings and different categories of criteria for the assessment of the indoor environment.

As part of the Commoncense Project (co-financed by the Intelligence Energy Europe program), we analyzed (with detailed measurement campaigns and interviews) four existing buildings in Italy to assess their level of thermal comfort. The methodology proposed by the standard EN 15251 was tested to identify its critical issues and to investigate the possibility of its application on a large scale.

Starting from these data and critical evaluation, we analyze:

  • The possible implications of these comfort targets on the design of low/zero-energy buildings and on the renovation of the existing building stock.
  • The relationship between comfort assessment and energy certification of existing buildings: at present their complete integration is not possible.


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