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Beijing Summer Investigation

Summer Investigation on Beijing’s Residential Buildings


  • Goal of the investigation
General conditions of Chinese residential buildings at present Indoor environment difference between different buildings Available natural ventilation
  • Procedure
Investigation on 100 residential buildings in Beijing Building choice Questionnaire and data collection
  • Results
Thermal comfort analysis Indoor temperature difference analysis Natural ventilation analysis Psychological investigation on air conditioning
  • Further work
Technology improvement Building policy research

Building choice:



Area (education degree)

Tsinghua university, 41 apartments

Shijingshan District , 42 apartments

Building form

High rise, 10% Building, 20% apartment

Low rise, remaining

Building forms, ratio of length to width

Building and population density

The density of the building group

The height of surrounding buildings

The market condition around the investigated building


The ratio of green land area to building area

The degree of thickness and height of the green land

Built time

1972-1997, mainly in 1980s

Apartment location

Level: first, middle or the top floor

Window and wall’s directions of the investigated room

Note: almost all the apartments are NOT equipped with air conditioning. Even in the apartments with air conditioners, the measured datalogs were put in the non-conditioned room.


Part1. Physical condition investigation

Built time

Levels of the building

Level of the investigated apartment

Height of the apartment

Sizes of windows

Sizes of doors

Forms and materials of windows

Forms and materials of doors

The colors and materials of curtains

Have balcony or not, sealed or not

The direction of the investigated room

Apartment’s plan (attach drawing)

Building density nearby

Vegetation nearby

Distance to the nearest market

Work Watt and used hours of the electric machines inside

Are there some kinds of available natural ventilation?

Use detector to get something about direction of natural flows

Put the datalog in apartment to record the indoor temperature during one month

Part2. Questionnaire for the occupants

Ages and sex of all members in family

How long have they stayed in Beijing

Time regularity for the occupants to stay at home

If they have air conditioning in offices


How do occupants think about the temperature, humidity and air quality of their apartments during the period of their living

What kinds of adaptive methods do occupants adopt to improve their comfort indoors in summer including adjusting apartment characteristics and occupants themselves

If they want to buy air conditioner, if no, please explain the reasons

  Investigation results  
  1. Thermal comfort
  • Occupants have more tolerance to the high indoor temperature. 80% occupants think the thermal environment still acceptable as the temperature rising up to 30C.
  • 90% of apartments investigated have at least one fan, of which 31.6% occupants often turn on their fans when at home.
  • Occupants have many effective self-conditioning methods.
  1. Indoor temperature difference
  • The difference in level has the greatest effect on indoor temperature in buildings investigated. The max indoor temperature difference between the top floor and the first floor in some certain building is 4 C. The difference is much smaller between apartments both in middle of the building.
  • The difference between east and west apartments is not as obvious as that between top and ground floor. Most occupants living in west apartment have good methods to protect their indoor environment from overheating.
  • In many cases, the factors leading to the differences are so complicated that it is difficult to say what factors are the main reasons for the differences.
  1. Natural ventilation
  • Most residential buildings investigated have south-north directions.
  • Near 80% occupants are satisfied with their apartments’ natural ventilation, especially in high rise buildings.
  • An apartment’s plan and the number and locations of openings have large effects on natural ventilation result. The apartment with suitable openings in both south and north side is optimal.
  1. Psychological investigation on air conditioning
  • In non-conditioned apartments, 70% occupants are satisfied with their thermal environment, 40% dislike air-conditioned environment.
  • 400 questionnaires were sent to gather opinions from people with air-conditioners in their apartments and without. The analysis for this part has not been finished.

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