The role of international fashions in determining how cool or hot we are is being studied by ASHRAE. It’s not the impact of Gucci or Chanel on our style but rather how non-western wear, such as burqas or saris, affects our thermal comfort.
Comprehensive data exists on western clothing insulation values, but little research exists on non-western. Having information on attire like saris could influence the design of ventilation and air-conditioning systems to provide the best thermal comfort for occupants.
“Given the growing energy needs of large nations such as India, China, and Pakistan, all of which often have different clothing styles from western nations, knowing more about the impact of clothing on comfort is essential to improving ventilation and air-conditioning systems for these countries,” John Stoops, head of the project monitoring subcommittee for Technical Committee 2.1, Physiology & Human Environment, which is overseeing the project, said. “The project also will look at how different fabrics and body postures and movements impact the insulation value of cloth. We expect to find that the results of non-western wear on thermal comfort will be different than that of western wear due to looser fit, long gowns, and lighter materials that promote movement of air.”
1504-TRP, “Extension of the Clothing Insulation Database for Standard 55 and ISO 7730 to Provide Data for Non-Western Clothing Ensembles, Including Data on the Effect of Posture and Air Movement on that Insulation,” is one of 17 projects currently out for bid by ASHRAE. Results of 1504 would be of fundamental importance to both ASHRAE and the International Organization of Standardization (ISO) standards, building and building system designers, and vehicle designers around the world. Specifically, it could expand the scope and reach of ASHRAE Standard 55, Thermal Environmental Conditions for Human Occupancy, to a worldwide audience.