Canadian Consulting Engineer

Burqas and saris … are they cool?

The Association of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) is studying what impact clothes like burqas or saris and other non-western attire have on human body temperature, and thus how these clothes might affect the...

March 28, 2011   Canadian Consulting Engineer

The Association of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) is studying what impact clothes like burqas or saris and other non-western attire have on human body temperature, and thus how these clothes might affect the design of ventilation and air-conditioning systems for buildings.

According to ASHRAE, comprehensive data exists on western clothing insulation values but little research exists on these qualities in non-western clothing. “Having information on attire like saris could influence the design of ventilation and air-conditioning systems to provide the best thermal comfort for occupants.”

John Stoops, head of the project monitoring subcommittee for Technical Committee 2.1, Physiology and Human Environment, which is overseeing the project, says:  “Given the growing energy needs of large nations such as India, China and Pakistan, all of which often have different clothing styles from western nations, knowing more about the impact of clothing on comfort is essential to improving ventilation and air-conditioning systems for these countries.”

The project will look at how different fabrics and body postures and movements impact the insulation value of cloth. “We expect to find that the results of non-western wear on thermal comfort will be different than that of western wear due to looser fit, long gowns and lighter materials that promote movement of air,” says Stoops.


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