Influence of clothing on adaptive thermal comfort: a study of the thermal comfort of office workers in hot humid conditions in Enugu, Nigeria
Efeoma, Meshack Oghenekaro
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The aim of this thesis is to investigate to what extent regulated office clothing affects the perception and adaptation of office workers to the thermal conditions surrounding their work environments, focusing on the city of Enugu in South Eastern Nigeria which has hot humid climatic conditions. Clothing, regarded as a second skin, allows us to adapt or adjust to the thermal conditions in our immediate surrounding environment. It also affects our perception of the thermal environment. In some offices however employees are expected to wear regulated clothing or uniforms, during the working day; for various corporate identity reasons. Field studies were undertaken in office spaces in Enugu involving the behavioural and environmental analysis of thermal comfort conditions in six typical case study office spaces, at the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) and Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC). The thesis adopted a mixed‐mode methodological process; combining a quantitative and qualitative approach to data collection and analysis. The field research analysis found that all office spaces analysed were in compliance with the adaptive thermal comfort component of the ASHRAE Standard 55‐2013. The results however did not comply with the adaptive thermal comfort of CEN/EN 15251‐2007. The thermal sensation component of the results suggests a neutral temperature of 28.80C, with 80% thermal satisfaction, in a comfort range of between 25.40C and 32.20C. The thermal comfort vote indicates that approximately 85% of office workers with flexible clothing policy were comfortable at that comfort range, whilst only 55% of workers who had to adhere to a strict uniform policy voted that they were comfortable. The key research findings were: Firstly, the field observations and semi-structured interviews undertaken indicated that the strict uniform policy of FRSC office workers contributed substantially to the limited adaptation of staff to their workspace thermal conditions. Also, of all the thermal variables recorded during the field survey, clothing insulation had the strongest correlations to the thermal sensation of participants in the survey compared to indoor operative temperature, outdoor air temperature, relative humidity or metabolic rate. Furthermore, it is possible for workers in naturally ventilated office buildings in the hot humid climate zone of Enugu to achieve thermal comfort in higher temperature conditions through clothing adaptation.