Operative temperature (previously known as resultant temperature or dry resultant temperature, but renamed to align with ASHRAE and ISO standards) is a simplified measure of human thermal comfort derived from air temperature, mean radiant temperature and air speed. It can be useful in assessing the likely thermal comfort of the occupants of a building.
Actual thermal comfort is dependent on environmental factors, such as air temperature, air velocity, relative humidity and the uniformity of conditions, as well as personal factors such as clothing, metabolic heat, acclimatisation, state of health, expectations, and even access to food and drink. However as empirical fits to these variables are very complex (see predicted mean vote), a simpler measure can be more useful in practice.
Operative temperature is defined as:
Operative temperature = (tr + (ta x √10v)) / (1+√10v)
ta = air temperature
v = air speed (m/s)
Operative temperature = (( hr x tr) + (hc x ta )) / ( hr + hc )
hc = convective heat transfer coefficient
hr = radiative heat transfer coefficient
Where the air speed is less than 0.1m/s, (as is typical in buildings) radiative and convective heat transfers may be similar, and so the equation can be simplified to:
Operative temperature = (ta + tr)/2
In many spaces, with low air velocity and where air temperature and mean radiant temperature may be similar, air temperature alone can be a reasonable indicator of thermal comfort. However, in spaces where surfaces may be heated or cooled, where there is significant thermal mass, or where solar radiation is present, air and radiant temperatures may be very different and so it is necessary to take account of radiant temperatures in assessing thermal comfort.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
As the UK awakes to a Brexit victory, what are the possible implications for the construction industry?
In a first-of-its-kind collaboration with Designing Buildings Wiki, IHBC has launched Conservation Wiki, to bring building conservation to the forefront of the digital revolution.
As the UK digests the Brexit vote, take a look at the buildings of the EU that we will be leaving.
New BRE publication considers who the fuel poor are and the reasons for changing levels of fuel poverty.
Informative ICE guide to shale gas.
SOM's newly completed tower in Beijing with unique trapezoidal façade.
This giant stone-carved pineapple has been labelled a folly and the most 'bizarre building in Scotland'.
BREEAM's Retail In-use prize awarded to the mixed-use Kanyon Centre in Istanbul.
ICE launch programme in response to 'unprecedented challenges' facing construction over the next 25 years in terms of infrastructure needs and delivery.
Tom Hughes, Director at architectural practice 2hD, wins our ideas competition - proposing the prefabrication of complex junctions rather than simple components.
For more news, go to the home page.