Analysis of thermal comfort and indoor air quality in a mechanically ventilated theatre
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Theatres are the most complex of all auditorium structures environmentally. They usually have high heat loads, which are of a transient nature as audiences come and go, and from lighting which changes from scene to scene, and they generally have full or nearly full occupancy. Theatres also need to perform well acoustically, both for the spoken word and for music, and as sound amplification is less used than in other auditoria, background noise control is critically important. All these factors place constraints on the ventilation design, and if this is poor, it can lead to the deterioration of indoor air quality and thermal comfort. To analyse the level of indoor air quality and thermal comfort in a typical medium-sized mechanically ventilated theatre, and to identify where improvements could typically be made, a comprehensive post-occupancy evaluation study was carried out on a theatre in Belgrade. The evaluation, based on the results of monitoring (temperature, relative humidity, CO2..., air speed and heat flux) and modelling (CFD), as well as the assessment of comfort and health as perceived by occupants, has shown that for most of the monitored period the environmental parameters were within the standard limits of thermal comfort and IAQ. However, two important issues were identified, which should be borne in mind by theatre designers in the future. First, the calculated ventilation rates showed that the theatre was over-ventilated, which will have serious consequences for its energy consumption, and secondly, the displacement ventilation arrangement employed led to higher than expected complaints of cold discomfort, probably due to cold draughts around the occupants feet. (C) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.