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Pssychrromettric Charts

C
s
A psychrom
metric chart
c
forr a given
n locatio
on can tell
t
you informa
ation about
tem
mperaturre (wet bulb and dry bulb)
b
and
d humid
dity (relative and
d absolute).
Wh
hile theyy may se
eem ove
erwhelming at fiirst, by learning how th
he variab
bles
interact, yo
ou can begin
b
to use the psychro
ometric chart
c
to interpre
et occupant
com
mfort an
nd effectiive passivve design strateg
gies for your
y
loca
ation.
Pssychrometrric charts show
s
teemperaturee vs. humid
dity, and ca
an
bee used to express
e
hum
man thermal
co
omfort, dessign strateg
gies, and
en
nergy requ
uirements fo
or those
sttrategies.

What is a Psychrome
etric Ch
hart ?

A psychrome
p
etric chart is a graphical rep
presentatio
on of the psychrom
metric processes of air.
Psychrometricc processe
es include
e physical and therrmodynam
mic properrties such as dry bulb
b
tem
mperature, wet bulb temperaturre, humiditty, enthalpyy, and air density.
d
A psychromettric chart can be used
d in two different wayys. The firsst is done by
b plotting
g multiple data
d
points, that re
epresent th
he air cond
ditions at a specific time, on the chart. Then,
T
overlaying an area
a
thatt identifiess the comfort zone. The com
mfort zone is defined as the ran
nge within occupantss are
satisfied with the surrou
unding the
ermal cond
ditions. After plotting
g the air co
onditions and
a overlayying
the comfort zone, it becomes
b
p
possible
to
o see how
w passive design
d
strrategies ca
an extend the
com
mfort zone..

Exam
mple of how plotteed data on a psych
hrometric chart can
n be studied, and related
r
to passive design. In this cha
art, the dark blue boxes
b
represent thee comfort zone, and the
otheer colors representt design strategies that have been en
nabled to study how they can potentially expand the co
omfort zone. This psychrometric
p
cha
art was generated using
u
C
Climate
Consultan
nt.

The
e chart is also often used
u
by me
echanical engineers
e
t dynamiccally plot points
to
p
thatt representt the
exte
erior air co
onditions and
a
undersstand the process
p
the air mustt go throug
gh to reach comforta
able
con
nditions fo
or the occupants insside a building. Wh
hen using the psych
hrometric chart for this
purrpose the d
data pointss move aro
ound the ch
hart.

Psycchrometric charts show temperaturee vs. humidity, and


d can be used to exxpress human therm
rmal comfort, desig
gn strategies, and energy requiremen
nts for those strateegies.

Ana
atomy of th
he Psychro
ometric Cha
art
Tem
mperature
Every psychro
ometric ch
hart includes verticall lines that represen
nt the dry bulb tem
mperatures.. Air
tem
mperature increases frrom left to
o right.

Dry bulb tempera


ature lines on a pssychrometric chartt

Every psychro
ometric ch
hart also includes
i
wet
w bulb temperatur
t
res. These
e lines are
e indicated
d at
diag
gonals, and
d like dry bulb
b
tempe
eratures th
hey increase
e from leftt to right.

Wet bulb temperrature lines on a pssychrometric chartt

Rela
ative Humiidity
Ano
other featu
ure indicated on eve
ery psychro
ometric cha
art is relattive humidity lines. These
T
liness are
curvved, and b
begin at 10
00% along the top off the chartt, and decrrease moving downw
ward. It is fairly
f
com
mmon for tthese lines to be indiccated in intervals of tten.

Relative humid
dity lines on a psycchrometric chart

Datta Points
Psychrometricc charts ind
dicate data
a points fo
or each loccation theyy are representing. Th
he style off the
data points can
c
vary de
epending upon the computerr applicatio
on that wa
as used to
o generate the
psyychrometricc chart, or if the charrt was gene
erated by hand.
h
Each
h data poin
nt represen
nts a collecction
of air
a qualities at a snap
p shot in time.
t
It can
n be hourlyy, daily, mo
onthly, or even seaso
onal data. The
den
nsity of datta points on the chartt is used to
o decipher average conditions. At times itt can be usseful
to view
v
summ
mer and wiinter data points independently. But view
wing them
m together allows you to
con
nsider all pa
assive desiign strateg
gies in an in
ntegrated m
manner.

Based on
n the data points in
n this example, wee can conclude aveerage conditions arre between 30 C and
a 35 C.

Comfort Zo
one
The
e comfort zone is tyypically ind
dicated byy shading a portion of the pssychrometrric chart. This
shaded area iis highly va
ariable perr climate and projectt. The com
mfort zone is either populated
p
by
b a
softtware syste
em, or manually by a designerr, based up
pon the activity to ta
ake place in the build
ding
and
d the level of anticipa
ated clothin
ng to be worn
w
by the
e occupants.

In tthis example, we kn
now temperaturess greater than 30 C will be considereed too hot, and lesss than 20C will be
b considered too cold.
c

Oth
her items th
hat can be found on some, but not all psyychrometriic charts, are as follow
ws.
Horizontall lines that provide de
ew point te
emperaturre readingss along the
e right hand
d side of th
he
chart. This is useful for knowing
g at what temperatur
t
re water will begin to
o condensa
ate. Which
h
can transp
pire to mold
d and insulation with
h decreased
d thermal performan
nce if not accurately
accounted
d for in the design of a building.
Ho
orizontal lines that provide hum
midity ratio
o/moisture content measureme
m
ents along the right hand
h
sid
de of the cchart. This informatio
i
n aids with
h understan
nding the density
d
of the air, wh
hich relatess to
bu
uoyancy an
nd air qualiity issues.
Along the upper left hand side
e of the cha
art at timess will be diagonal tick
ks/lines pla
aced at a
similar ang
gle and dirrection as the
t wet bulb tempera
ature lines.. These are
e enthalpy
measurem
ments that are
a useful for
f understtanding he
eat energy needed, or
o existing in
i the air.
The
e video below provide
es a good overview of
o the psycchrometric chart. It fe
eatures the
e Ecotect
Weather Tool.

Interpretting the Psycchrome


etric Ch
hart

Sincce psychro
ometric cha
arts can pro
ovide you with a rapiid overview
w of air con
nditions ass they relatte to
occupant com
mfort, some
e steadfastt judgmen
nts can be made. For example,, is your climate hot and
hum
mid, or dryy and arid? How are your
y
occup
pants going
g to feel most
m
of the timetoo
o hot, too cold,
c
or comfortabl
c
le?
Som
me commo
on example
es of these broad con
nclusions are
a depicte
ed below.

Temperature (orange
(
= too hot, blue = too cold)

Humidity (blu
ue = too humid, yeellow = too dry

Dessign Strategies and th


he Psychro
ometric Cha
art
Afte
er understtanding how your climate re
eads on a psychrometric cha
art, you can
c
use itt to
und
derstand w
what sustain
nable desig
gn strategies can be best used to improve
e occupantt comfort.
When data po
oints fall to
o the right of the com
mfort zone,, you will want
w
to red
duce the air temperatture.
An example sttrategy to achieve this would be
b to increa
ase air flow
w with natu
ural ventilattion.
When data po
oints fall to
o the left of the comffort zone, you
y will wa
ant to incre
ease the air temperatture.
A common sttrategy to do this passively is to incorporrate solar heat
h
gains with high thermal mass
m
matterials.
When relative
e humidity is too low
w it can be increased with evapo
orative coo
oling. And when it is too
high it can be
e decreased
d with the use of desiccants.
An example o
of how thiss sort of an
nalysis could be done
e is demon
nstrated be
elow. Clima
ate Consultant
wass used to g
generate all the charts.

Begin
nning psychrometrric chart, with com
mfort zones depicteed for summer and
d winter clothing leevels. The chart alsso indicates that only 9.5% of occupa
ants will be comfortable
with
h no design strateg
gies.

Natu
ural ventilation is applied to reduce air temperatures, and occupant com
mfort moves up to 10%.
1

Opportunities forr passive solar gain


n are combined wiith high mass mateerials, in order to raise
r
air temperatu
ures. As a result, occcupant comfort moves up to 29.1%..

Humidification iss combined with pa


assive heating, and
d occupant comforrt reaches 98.9%.