The Significance of the Adaptive Thermal Comfort Practice over the Structure Retrofits to Sustain Indoor Thermal Comfort
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Any building’s design should sustain thermal comfort for occupants and promote less energy usage during its lifetime using accurate building retrofits to convert existing buildings into low-energy buildings so that the heating and cooling loads can be minimized. Regarding the methodology adopted in this research, an energy model of an educational building located at the German Jordanian University in Jordan was constructed utilizing DesignBuilder computer software. In addition, it was calibrated utilizing real energy consumption data for a 12-month simulation of energy performance. Subsequently, a computerized evaluation of the roles of building envelope retrofits or the adaptive thermal comfort limits in the reduction of the overall building energy consumption was analyzed. The results of the study show that the current building’s external wall insulation, roof insulation, glazing, windows, and external shading devices are relatively energy-efficient but with high cost, resulting in significant financial losses, even though they achieved noticeable energy savings. For instance, equipping the building’s ventilation system with an economizer culminated in the highest financial profit, contributing to an annual energy savings of 155 MWh. On the other hand, in an occupant-centered approach, applying the adaptive thermal comfort model in wider ranges by adding 1 °C, 2 °C, and 3 °C to the existing operating temperatures would save a significant amount of energy with the least cost (while maintaining indoor thermal comfort), taking over any retrofit option. Using different adaptive thermal comfort scenarios (1 °C, 2 °C, and 3 °C) led to significant savings of around 5%, 12%, and 21%, respectively. However, using different retrofits techniques proved to be costly, with minimum energy savings compared to the adaptive approach.

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