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Relative thermostat

A means for better climate control
  (+14, -2)(+14, -2)
(+14, -2)
  [vote for,

Frank Lloyd Wright said if you're to actually Control the Climate, there will be problems with that. How right he was.

Have you ever spent time in a building that is way too hot or too cold? If it's wrong it's usually polar wrong - too hot in the winter, and too cold in the summer.

Why not have thermostats that make the set temperature relative to the ambient outside temperature? The thermostat would have 4 markings, cold .. cool .. warm .. hot.

For example, stay outside for an hour or so in 15 deg. F weather. When you step inside, then 70 deg. F will be HOT. However if the outside it is 90 deg. F then stepping into 70 will feel very cool.

A relative thermostat would need a means of getting the outside temperature. This could be via radio receiver, such as the self-adjusting clocks do. The receiver could be set to a national/regional weather signal or a transmitter within the building complex. The building manager could even set the amount of degree-days adjustment the system would allow (basically how much of a difference between the set temperature and the ambient outdoor temperature, averaged over some period of time).

undata, Oct 04 2006


       I've always wanted this.   

       The trains here in the UK annoy me because in the summer heat you step on to the train in shorts, t-shirt and sandals. You then sit there and shiver for your whole journey because the AC is set too low in relation to the ambient temperature. I have several times carried extra clothes in my bag just for the train journey. Also, the same is true for shops and this makes me want to leave as quickly as possible.   

       As you say, the reverse is true in the winter. I walk into a shop with coat, fleece etc. on in the winter and want to leave straight away as it is WAY too hot. It is not practical to remove outer garments every time you enter a shop and makes the already painful routine of shopping so much more painful!   

       There has been some research that suggests that regular changes of temperature are harmful to our bodies and can encourage many problems and increase risk of diseases and conditions like Pneumonia. It has also been found that living in a environment that is too warm also encourages bacteria to breed and viruses to take hold. Keeping warm to avoid a "cold" is a myth and it has been found that people who keep their house cooler during the winter and expose themselves less to sharp temperature changes are much less likely to get a "cold" or other similar illnesses.   

       BIG [+]
webfishrune, Oct 04 2006

       Oh. I was hoping for something to control my relatives. Oh well.   

       But really, I think you are totally failing to understand where the problem with too-hot and too-cold buildings arises. In some cases, it's because the ac/heating is still in the wrong mode after a sudden weather change. But in most, it's simply because of inefficient heating/cooling systems, and no amount of thermostat voodoo will help that.   

       Moreover, under your scheme, you'll have many days when the thermostat is on the wrong setting after a sudden change in weather, and you'll actually make the problem worse, not better. Unless you live in some place that doesn't have weather, like maybe California.
DrCurry, Oct 04 2006

       The crazy temperatures set for heating/cooling systems is normally down to the staff who work all day in that environment - If Sally the Shopgirl feels a bit chilly, she's going to turn up the heat, and if that means people have to shed their excess clothing, what's it to her? Likewise, if Terry Ticket-Inspector is running up and down the train, shouting at hooligans, or just having his break in a rattling plastic staff-room - you bet he's going to turn down the temperature on the AC on a hot day - and if his passengers get goose pimples - sod em!
zen_tom, Oct 04 2006

       I like this. It conforms to my belief that people should adapt, at least in part, to seasonal climate changes.
Shz, Oct 04 2006

       //But really, I think you are totally failing to understand where the problem with too-hot and too-cold buildings arises.//   

       In my opinion, you are failing to understand the implementation of said idea.   

       It would not be in the least bit complicated to set rules like this (example figures and rules only):   

       if outside temperature is 22degC or above, set inside temperature to outside ambient minus 2 degrees.   

       If outside temperature is in the range of 17 - 20 Deg C turn of system and just pump ambient temp air.   

       If outside temperature is less than 16 degrees set inside temperature to outside temperature plus 2 degrees.   

       Set a min. floor at 14 degrees.   

       Set a max. ceiling at 28 degrees.   


       These kind of rules would need some tweaking but it would be perfectly possible given adequate research and consideration.   

       Also, the effect that changes in humidity have on perceived temperature should be taken into account such that in some environments, not changing the temperature but lowering the relative humidity would change perceived temperature.
webfishrune, Oct 04 2006

       [webfishrune] when I saw the idea title, I thought the idea would be about a thermostat the had a humidity sensor and adjusted to account for that.
Zimmy, Oct 04 2006

       I like the principle. [+]   

       A simplified version of this would just be a thermostat with a tolerance.
pertinax, Oct 06 2006

       I think the system would have to be more complex than stated. It hasn't even into account day/night changes. In many non-tropical climates you want the room temperature to be well above night time temperature all year round. The day setting would vary above or below depending on season.   

       I agree that thermostats need to come out of the victorian age and thing that a relative thermostat could well be part of the solution, but don't think that the idea is a complet solution as presented.
st3f, Oct 06 2006

       One of the few times I remember experiencing what I thought was the ideal temperature was in a train station in Germany. With my overcoat opened, I was pleasantly warm but not too warm. I noticed the people working the commercial booths were pretty well layered. It was probably about 50 deg. F, according to my estimate. This would correspond to a cool setting for winter. In the summer, of course, this temperature would be a pretty darn cold.
undata, Oct 08 2006

       You'd need adjustments for humidity and windchill but besides that you have my support.
baslisks, Oct 09 2006

       Memories..I had big stupid struggles at the office because I felt people should adjust the thermostat conservatively: cooler in winter then in summer. In practice, the exact opposite was done: the set temp went much higher in winter then in summer. There was an exaggerated craving for comfort among my coworkers and a disinterest in energy use.
jmvw, Oct 16 2006


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