skip to main content

Title: Thermal Comfort: Radiant Systems - A Review of Experimentalbased thermal comfort research in Radiation systems
Buildings use 40% of the global energy consumption and emit 30% of the CO2 emissions [1]. Of the total building energy, 30-40% are for building heating and cooling systems, which regulate the indoor thermal environment and provide thermal comfort to occupants. In the United States, most buildings use forced air technology to deliver heating/cooling to the targeted thermal zones. However, this system may cause complaints about thermal comfort from inhabitants due to excessive draft movement, inhomogeneous conditioning, and difficulty in accurately controlling the temperature for a system serving multiple rooms. Therefore, researchers have suggested using a radiant heating and cooling system as a better alternative to all-air systems to address these issues. Radiant systems supply heating or cooling directly to the building space using radiation released by the heated or cooled building enclosure via the embedded heating or cooling tubes. In the cooling season, the radiant system often works with a separated dehumidifier to meet space latent and sensible cooling load (called separate sensible and latent cooling system SSLC). The SSLC has shown higher efficiency than forced air systems. However, it is unsure whether the radiant heating and cooling system can provide better thermal comfort to occupants. Moreover, the evaluation method more » for thermal comfort in the current standard is suitable for forced air systems. Therefore, a new method shall be developed to evaluate the radiation system’s thermal comfort. In this paper, we review the experiment-based studies on the thermal comfort of radiant systems. According to the experimental studies regarding thermal comfort and radiant systems, the key findings are concluded to help guide the evaluation of thermal comfort for radiant systems. « less
Authors:
; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Award ID(s):
1805893
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10258115
Journal Name:
108th ACSA Annual Meeting Proceeding
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Buildings use 40% of the global energy consumption and emit 30% of CO2 emissions. Of the total building energy, 30-40% is for building heating and cooling systems, which regulate the indoor thermal environment and provide thermal comfort to occupants. Most buildings use forced air technology in the United States to deliver heating/cooling to the targeted thermal zones. Researchers have suggested using radiant heating and cooling systems as a better alternative to all-air systems. Radiant systems supply heating or cooling directly to the building space using radiation released by the heated or cooled building enclosure via the embedded heating or cooling tubes. It is unsure whether the radiant heating and cooling system can provide better thermal comfort to occupants. Moreover, the evaluation method for thermal comfort in the current standard is only suitable for forced air systems. A new plan shall be developed to evaluate the radiation system’s thermal comfort. This paper reviews the experiment-based studies on the thermal comfort of radiant systems. According to the experimental studies regarding thermal comfort and radiant systems, the key findings are concluded to help guide the evaluation of thermal comfort for radiant systems.
  2. Understanding occupants’ thermal sensation and comfort is essential to defining the operational settings for Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems in buildings. Due to the continuous impact of human and environmental factors, occupants’ thermal sensation and comfort level can change over time. Thus, to dynamically control the environment, thermal comfort should be monitored in real time. This paper presents a novel non-intrusive infrared thermography framework to estimate an occupant’s thermal comfort level by measuring skin temperature collected from different facial regions using low- cost thermal cameras. Unlike existing methods that rely on placing sensors directly on humans for skin temperature measurement, the proposed framework is able to detect the presence of occupants, extract facial regions, measure skin temperature features, and interpret thermal comfort conditions with minimal interruption of the building occupants. The method is validated by collecting thermal comfort data from a total of twelve subjects under cooling, heating and steady-state experiments. The results demonstrate that ears, nose and cheeks are most indicative of thermal comfort and the proposed framework can be used to assess occupants’ thermal comfort with an average accuracy of 85%.
  3. About 40% of the energy produced globally is consumed within buildings, primarily for providing occupants with comfortable work and living spaces. However, despite the significant impacts of such energy consumption on the environment, the lack of thermal comfort among occupants is a common problem that can lead to health complications and reduced productivity. To address this problem, it is particularly important to understand occupants’ thermal comfort in real-time to dynamically control the environment. This study investigates an infrared thermal camera network to extract skin temperature features and predict occupants’ thermal preferences at flexible distances and angles. This study distinguishes from existing methods in two ways: (1) the proposed method is a non-intrusive data collection approach which does not require human participation or personal devices; (2) it uses low-cost thermal cameras and RGB-D sensors which can be rapidly reconfigured to adapt to various settings and has little or no hardware infrastructure dependency. The proposed camera network is verified using the facial skin temperature collected from 16 subjects in a multi-occupancy experiment. The results show that all 16 subjects observed a statistically higher skin temperature as the room temperature increases. The variations in skin temperature also correspond to the distinct comfort statesmore »reported by the subjects. The post-experiment evaluation suggests that the networked thermal cameras have a minimal interruption of building occupants. The proposed approach demonstrates the potential to transition the human physiological data collection from an intrusive and wearable device-based approach to a truly non-intrusive and scalable approach.« less
  4. Thermal comfort and energy efficiency are always the two most significant objectives in HVAC operations. However, for conventional HVAC systems, the pursuit of high energy efficiency may be at the expense of satisfactory thermal comfort. Therefore, even if centralized HVAC systems nowadays have higher energy efficiency than before in office buildings, most of them cannot adapt the dynamic occupant behaviors or individual thermal comfort. In order to realize high energy efficiency while still maintain satisfactory thermal environment for occupants indoors, the integrated hybrid HVAC system has been developed for years such as task-ambient conditioning system. Moreover, the occupant-based HVAC control system such as human- in-the-loop has also been investigated so that the system can be adaptive based on occupant behaviors. However, most of research related to personalized air-conditioning system only focuses on field-study with limited scale (i.e. only one office room), this paper has proposed a co- simulation model in energyplus to simulate the hybrid cooling system with synthetic thermal comfort distributions based on global comfort database I&II. An optimization framework on cooling set-point is proposed with the objective of energy performance and the constraints of thermal comfort distribution developed by unsupervised Gaussian mixture model (GMM) clustering and kernel densitymore »estimation (KDE). The co-simulation results have illustrated that with the proposed optimization algorithm and the hybrid cooling system, HVAC demand power has decreased 5.3% on average with at least 90% of occupants feeling satisfied.« less
  5. Buildings in the U.S. are responsible for approximately 40% of energy and 70% of the electricity consumption. To address rising greenhouse gas emissions and climate changes, various studies have explored strategies to reduce energy consumption in buildings. One opportunity to improve the building envelope performance is through improvements to fenestrations, particularly complex multi-layer fenestration systems for exterior windows. Windows are the least thermally efficient of all components in a typical building envelope. Windows also permit solar radiation into a building, which significantly increases the building energy consumption during the summer season. Meanwhile, windows are necessary to provide occupants with natural light, a view to the outside, and to support productivity. Thus, there is a need to strike a balance between energy savings, and the thermal and visual comfort impacted by windows. Traditionally, shading devices are one method used to adjust the amount of heat and light entering an interior space. However, such shading devices are typically operated manually by occupants, and are seldom used effectively over time. Currently the building energy simulation program EnergyPlus, has limited capabilities to model shading devices, and more limited abilities to model dynamic fenestrations. In this study, thus, we propose to model and validate severalmore »types of automated multi-layer fenestration elements, using co-simulation of EnergyPlus and Radiance using laboratory-collected data. EnergyPlus was used to model energy consumption and thermal comfort while Radiance was used to model lighting levels. BCVTB was used to interface between EnergyPlus and Radiance to facilitate co-simulation. To validate the models, experimental data was collected from 5 illuminance sensors in an exterior office space located in a test facility in Ankeny, IA. This model methodology can be used to improve the flexibility and modeling capabilities of dynamic fenestration elements for building energy performance evaluation methods.« less