Effect of balconies on thermal comfort in wind-induced, naturally ventilated low-rise buildings

Zhengtao Ai, C. M. Mak, J. L. Niu, Z. R. Li

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The presence of the parapet and floor of a balcony is expected to have a range of effects on a building's environmental behaviour, in terms of aspects, such as natural ventilation, thermal comfort, pollutant transportation and shading and daylighting. The authors have previously reported that the presence of a balcony can significantly increase the air flow rate of most rooms in a naturally ventilated building. In this study, the CFD technique and Fanger and Toftum's extended PMV-PPD model are combined to investigate numerically the effect of a balcony on thermal comfort for naturally ventilated buildings in tropical-humid regions. The results show that although a balcony reduces the indoor average velocity for most rooms, and in turn increases the PMVnv value in both the seated and standing positions, it does not change the indoor thermal comfort level. However, the presence of a balcony improves comfort by increasing the uniformity of indoor air distribution. PMVnv is also shown to be less sensitive to velocity than PMV, allowing for a wider thermal comfort range for naturally ventilated buildings.Practical application: This study will help designers and engineers who are considering the use of a balcony at the design stage to have a better understanding of its effect on thermal comfort in naturally ventilated buildings.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBuilding Services Engineering Research & Technology
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)277-292
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


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