Temperature and temperature variations govern much of our daily lives. Shelter, clothing, heating, air conditioning, and building insulation influence the thermal forces that determine a person’s state of comfort. It is this idea of “thermal comfort” that designers, builders, and architects attempt to provide by active or passive means when creating shelter.
Thermal comfort, ever a vague and ambiguous term given the varying nature of the human condition, has been described as a feeling of well-being, an absence of discomfort, or a state of mind that is satisfied with the thermal environment. The body’s network of sensory organs, such as the eyes, ears, nose, tactile sensors, heat sensors, and brain all contribute to the physiologic and psychological awareness of thermal responses.