Development of thermal discernment among visitors : results from a field study in the Hermitage Amsterdam

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Building energy and occupant health concerns have increased the desire for variable, dynamic indoors and hence the interest in comfort of non-uniform and/or transient thermal conditions. An extended thermal comfort field study in the Hermitage Amsterdam museum afforded a unique opportunity to analyse evolving subjective perception of occupants, upon their moving indoors, over the time they spent in the museum. Visitors’ responses were grouped depending on how long they had been inside when they filled up the survey. The mean thermal sensation vote of each time group bore a strong correlation with their average time duration. For visitors who had been inside for 20 min or less, the thermal sensation vote had a significant relation with the outdoor temperature but not the indoor temperature. As visitors spent longer indoors, percentage of them feeling warm decreased and percentage of neutral or cool feeling increased. In tandem, the percentage of visitors preferring to be warmer also increased with time. Gender based differences in thermal sensation and preference also had a gradual and logical evolution with time. In an evidence of alliesthesial response, all the visitors inside for 20 min or less, accepted their thermal environment. The overall evidence suggests that visitor’s subjective perception of the thermal environment undergoes a distinct evolution during their first hour indoors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-49
Number of pages10
JournalBuilding and Environment
Publication statusPublished - 24 May 2016


  • Thermal comfort
  • Transients
  • Field study
  • Visitors
  • Subjective perception
  • Museum


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