Resource depletion and global warming dictate needs to reduce energy consumption, however energy used for the environmental space conditioning of buildings remains substantial; even in well-designed examples. Therefore the ways in which buildings are utilized, and occupant expectations of comfort in building environments should be researched to determine alternative means for optimizing performance. This paper deals with transition spaces (entrance foyers, circulation zones, lift lobbies, stairways and atria) and thermal comfort experiences. It both reviews existing reported research into comfort in such spaces, and introduces new information from a range of studies completed in recent years. It assesses the usefulness and applicability of design standards which exist, but which are primarily concerned with more permanently (rather than transitorily) occupied spaces within buildings. Three main categories of transition space are identified: entrance zones; circulation zones; and zones of longer residence-time such as atria. The analysis indicates that different design standards, or variations on existing standards, should be considered for application in each type of space. The outcomes of this work suggest opportunities to reduce environmental conditioning and therefore energy use in such spaces; spaces which can make up a significant fraction of the overall floor area/volume of workplace buildings.
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