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Last edited 16 Sep 2020
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
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
- BREEAM Thermal comfort.
- Dry-bulb temperature.
- Globe temperature.
- Maximum and minimum workplace temperatures.
- Mean radiant temperature.
- Predicted mean vote.
- Psychometric chart.
- Running mean temperature.
- Sling psychrometer.
- Thermal comfort.
- Thermal indices.
- Wet-bulb temperature.
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