Sensible Heat versus Personal Comfort

I was conducting apartment inspections as part of an ASHRAE level II energy audit in a large affordable housing complex.  The building is electric heat and undergoing a conversion to hydronic (heating hot water with baseboard).  During the inspection the air temperature in the apartments was measured, windows and air conditioner sleeves visually inspected and it was noted if the electric baseboard was energized.

On the day of the visit the outside air temperature was in the twenties and the wind was very strong from the west I believe.  The building has drafty double hung windows; inadequate caulking between window frame and exterior wall, balances broken, weather stripping that is worn, windows don’t lock tight, etc.  The electric outlets allow air infiltration, a number of exhaust fans are not operating so there is a lot of uncontrolled air movement through out the building and lastly a number of window air conditioners are left in the sleeves through out the window.  During the site visit a large number of top floor tenants complained of drafts and cold bedrooms.  The tenants were in such great discomfort that several of them resorted to turning on their ovens and leaving the door open.  None of the apartments temperatures measured below 74F.

Is it possible that even if the air temperature in an apartment is well above what is required by law that if the building is drafty and large stack effect (19 story buiding) it will bring great discomfort to the occupant?  Unless the unsealed penetrations, drafty windows and stack effect are resolved will occupants continue using the oven, electric space heaters etc even after hydronic baseboard has been installed?


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