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Summer performance, comfort, and heat stress in structural timber buildings under moderate weather conditions

Timothy Oluseun Adekunle (Department of Architecture, University of Hartford, West Hartford, Connecticut, USA)

Smart and Sustainable Built Environment

ISSN: 2046-6099

Article publication date: 28 February 2019

Issue publication date: 24 May 2019




The purpose of this paper is to examine the Summer performance, comfort, and heat stress in structural timber buildings. The research utilises building simulation as a tool to investigate the performance of the case study buildings under non-extreme weather conditions.


The research explores three UK sites using the test reference year (TRY) weather files for the current and future weather conditions. The study focuses on the Summer performance and heat stress in non-extreme weather conditions; therefore, the Design Summer Year (DSY) weather files are not used for the simulations. The simulation data are calibrated and validated using the measured data from the field study.


The results revealed the mean predicted temperatures varied from 20.2–20.8°C for the 2000s. The mean temperatures for the 2030s ranged from 23.1 to 24.2°C. Higher temperatures are predicted at the buildings in the Southeast site than the Midlands and the Northwest sites. The results revealed that there is no significant improvement in the thermal environment when the floor area and the floor-to-ceiling height are increased. However, the study showed that the integration of different design interventions can improve the future performance and resilience of the buildings in various weather conditions.

Research limitations/implications

By applying the wet-bulb globe temperature (WBGT) and the Universal Thermal Comfort Index (UTCI) mathematical models to calculate the heat stress at the buildings, the study proposes the WBGT of 20.0°C and the UTCI of 24.1°C as possible heat stress indicators for occupants of the buildings in the 2030s.

Practical implications

On the one hand, the results revealed the maximum temperatures in some of the case study buildings exceed the comfort threshold (28°C). On the other hand, the study showed that occupants of the buildings are not prone to extreme Summertime overheating and heat stress under moderate weather conditions. However, different outcomes may be predicted if DSY weather files for the selected sites are considered.


This study is the first reported work to explore building simulation and mathematical equations to investigate Summer performance, comfort and heat stress indexes in timber buildings under moderate weather conditions in different regional sites in the UK.



The author declares no conflict of interest. The author would like to thank the University of Hartford, USA for the award of the Coffin Grants to carry out the simulation-based study presented in this paper.


Adekunle, T.O. (2019), "Summer performance, comfort, and heat stress in structural timber buildings under moderate weather conditions", Smart and Sustainable Built Environment, Vol. 8 No. 3, pp. 220-242.



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