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Energies 2017, 10(9), 1368; doi:10.3390/en10091368

Using Thermostats for Indoor Climate Control in Office Buildings: The Effect on Thermal Comfort

Department of Mechanical Engineering and Building Services Engineering, Technische Hochschule Nürnberg Georg Simon Ohm, 90489 Nuremberg, Germany
Technical Building Systems Group, Nuremberg Branch, Department of Energy Efficiency and Indoor Climate, Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics, 90429 Nuremberg, Germany
School of Production Engineering and Management, Technical University of Crete, Chania 73100, Greece
Energy Department, Austrian Institute of Technology, 1220 Vienna, Austria
The Bartlett School of Environment, Energy and Resources, Faculty of the Built Environment, University College London, London WC1E 6BT, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 23 May 2017 / Revised: 4 September 2017 / Accepted: 6 September 2017 / Published: 10 September 2017
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Thermostats are widely used in temperature regulation of indoor spaces and have a direct impact on energy use and occupant thermal comfort. Existing guidelines make recommendations for properly selecting set points to reduce energy use, but there is little or no information regarding the actual achieved thermal comfort of the occupants. While dry-bulb air temperature measured at the thermostat location is sometimes a good proxy, there is less understanding of whether thermal comfort targets are actually met. In this direction, we have defined an experimental simulation protocol involving two office buildings; the buildings have contrasting geometrical and construction characteristics, as well as different building services systems for meeting heating and cooling demands. A parametric analysis is performed for combinations of controlled variables and boundary conditions. In all cases, occupant thermal comfort is estimated using the Fanger index, as defined in ISO 7730. The results of the parametric study suggest that simple bounds on the dry-bulb air temperature are not sufficient to ensure comfort, and in many cases, more detailed considerations taking into account building characteristics, as well as the types of building heating and cooling services are required. The implication is that the calculation or estimation of detailed comfort indices, or even the use of personalised comfort models, is key towards a more human-centric approach to building design and operation. View Full-Text
Keywords: thermal comfort; fanger; building energy performance simulation; thermostats; human-centred design and operation thermal comfort; fanger; building energy performance simulation; thermostats; human-centred design and operation

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Kontes, G.D.; Giannakis, G.I.; Horn, P.; Steiger, S.; Rovas, D.V. Using Thermostats for Indoor Climate Control in Office Buildings: The Effect on Thermal Comfort. Energies 2017, 10, 1368.

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