Last edited 20 Aug 2019

Thermal environment

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In its broadest sense, the term ‘environment’ refers to all of the things around a certain point. The thermal environment refers to the things that can affect heat transfer at that point.

Heat transfer is the process of thermal exchange between different systems. Generally there will be a net heat transfer from a hotter system to a cooler system.

Very broadly, the mechanisms of heat transfer can be described as:

For more information see: Heat transfer.

Aspects of the thermal environment that can affect heat transfer by these mechanisms include:

There are a number of measures that can be used to approximate the total affect of these aspects at a single point. For more information see: Temperature.

The experience people have of the thermal environment that surrounds them will also be affected by personal factors such as:

This is a personal experience that cannot be accurately measured, but it may be represented approximately by standards such as Predicted Mean Vote (PMV) and Percentage People Dissatisfied (PPD).

For more information see: Thermal comfort.

Temperatures in the workplace are governed by the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, which oblige employers to provide a reasonable temperature in the workplace.

For more information see: Maximum and minimum workplace temperatures.

Within the built environment, the thermal environment can be influenced by:

For more information see: Passive building design and Building services.

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