Impact of the perceived thermal sensation of inhaled air on the acceptability of perceived air quality

Indoor Air Cartoon Journal, July 2019, Volume 2, #66

Olfactory receptor nerves, located in the human nose, serve as human sensors for assessing indoor air quality (IAQ) condition. The thermal sensation of these sensors influences their assessments of perceived air quality acceptability, odour intensity, and air freshness. The temperature and humidity of the inhaled air influence the assessments. Evidence in the literature suggests that making the indoor air at the breathing zone to be slightly cooler and drier will increase the positive assessment of IAQ condition than when the inhaled air was warmer and moist. This comparison is only valid if the actual indoor air conditions for both thermal sensation scenarios are similar.

The best way to improve perception is by improving indoor air quality condition. Improving the thermal condition of the inhaled air is supposed to be an additional measure. Poor IAQ condition or perception could compromise human health, comfort, and work performance. The need to save energy in the tropical environment usually leads to warmer and moist air in the indoor environment and in the breathing zone. The question for the built environment professionals is how to make inhaled air thermal sensation slightly cooler without compromising building energy consumption and body thermal sensation and comfort? it is important to note that body thermal sensation and its influence on thermal comfort is different from the inhaled air thermal sensation that affects perceived air quality.

66. Thermal Sensation_66

Do you want to know more about this topic? Read Chapter 5 of Willem (2006)’s thesis.

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