Special Issue "Indoor Thermal Comfort"

A special issue of Atmosphere (ISSN 2073-4433). This special issue belongs to the section "Biometeorology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Francesca Romana d’Ambrosio Alfano
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Salerno, Via Giovanni Paolo II 132, 84084 Fisciano (Salerno), Italy
Interests: ergonomics of the thermal environment (thermal comfort and thermal stress assessment); occupational health; building physics; indoor air quality (IAQ); historical buildings, standardization
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Boris Igor Palella
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Naples Federico II, P.le V. Tecchio 80, 80125 Naples, Italy
Interests: ergonomics of the physical environment; thermal environment assessment; thermal comfort; hot environments; cold environments; microclimatic monitoring; industrial hygiene; indoor environmental quality (IEQ); indoor air quality (IAQ); cultural heritage preservation; standardization
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

As the century begins, natural resources are under increasing pressure, threatening public health and development. As a result, the balance between man and nature has been disrupted, with climatic changes whose effects are starting to be irreversible. Due to the relationship between the quality of the indoor built environment and its energy demand, thermal comfort issues are still relevant in the disciplinary debate. This is also because the indoor environment has a potential impact on occupants' health and productivity, affecting their physical and psychological conditions.

To achieve a sustainable compromise in terms of comfort and energy requirements, several challenging questions must be answered with regard to design, technical, engineering, psychological, and physiological issues, and, finally, potential interactions with other IEQ issues.

This Special Issue invites scholars to contribute original research and review articles on innovative design, systems, and/or control domains that can enhance occupant comfort, work productivity, wellbeing in a built environment, and the integration of human factors in buildings energy performance.

Potential research topics include but are not limited to the following:

  • Demand-response and smart technologies for high-performance buildings;
  • Personalized comfort;
  • Ergonomics of the built environment and the design of flexible spaces;
  • Health, human performance, and productivity in the built environment;
  • Human factors;
  • Human physiological responses;
  • Indoor environmental parameters (thermal, visual, aural, and olfactory comfort) in the context of energy-related issues;
  • Innovative/sustainable design for human physiological benefits;
  • Modelling;
  • Occupants inter- and intra-individual differences for reducing inequalities;
  • Post-occupancy evaluation and measurement;
  • Urban microclimate and thermal comfort outdoor;
  • Virtual or augmented reality in the built environment.

Prof. Dr. Francesca Romana d’Ambrosio
Prof. Dr. Boris Palella
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Atmosphere is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1500 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • thermal comfort
  • built environment
  • energy saving
  • Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ)
  • sustainability
  • design/system optimization
  • occupant-centered approach
  • innovative building
  • data-driven approach
  • evidence-based design

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Influence of Internal Structure and Composition on Head’s Local Thermal Sensation and Temperature Distribution
Atmosphere 2020, 11(2), 218; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11020218 - 21 Feb 2020
Abstract
A personalized thermal environment is an effective way to ensure a good thermal sensation for individuals. Since local thermal sensation and temperature distribution are affected by individual physiological differences, it is necessary to study the effects of physiological parameters. The purpose of this [...] Read more.
A personalized thermal environment is an effective way to ensure a good thermal sensation for individuals. Since local thermal sensation and temperature distribution are affected by individual physiological differences, it is necessary to study the effects of physiological parameters. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of internal structures and tissue composition on head temperature distribution and thermal sensation. A new mathematical model based on fuzzy logic control was established, the internal structure and tissue composition of the head were obtained by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and the local thermal sensation (LTS) index was used to evaluate the thermal sensation. Based on the mathematical model and the real physiological data, the head temperature and local sensation changes under different parameters were investigated, and the sensitivity of thermal sensation relative to the differences in tissue thickness was analyzed. The results show that skin tissue had the highest influence ( C s k i n = 0.0180 ) on head temperature, followed by muscle tissue ( C m u s c l e = 0.0127 ), and the influence of adipose tissue ( C f a t = 0.0097 ) was the lowest. LTS was most sensitive to skin thickness variation, with an average sensitivity coefficient of 1.58, while the muscle tissue had an average sensitivity coefficient of 0.2, and the sensitivity coefficient of fat was relatively small, at a value of 0.04. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Thermal Comfort)
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Open AccessArticle
A Comparative Study on Cooling Period Thermal Comfort Assessment in Modern Open Office Landscape in Estonia
Atmosphere 2020, 11(2), 127; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11020127 - 23 Jan 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Local thermal comfort and draught rate has been studied widely. There has been more meaningful research performed in controlled boundary condition situations than in actual work environments involving occupants. Thermal comfort conditions in office buildings in Estonia have been barely investigated in the [...] Read more.
Local thermal comfort and draught rate has been studied widely. There has been more meaningful research performed in controlled boundary condition situations than in actual work environments involving occupants. Thermal comfort conditions in office buildings in Estonia have been barely investigated in the past. In this paper, the results of thermal comfort and draught rate assessment in five office buildings in Tallinn are presented and discussed. Studied office landscapes vary in heating, ventilation and cooling system parameters, room units, and elements. All sample buildings were less than six years old, equipped with dedicated outdoor air ventilation system and room conditioning units. The on-site measurements consisted of thermal comfort and draught rate assessment with indoor climate questionnaire. The purpose of the survey is to assess the correspondence between heating, ventilation and cooling system design, and the actual situation. Results show, whether and in what extent the standard-based criteria for thermal comfort is suitable for actual usage of the occupants. Preferring one room conditioning unit type or system may not guarantee better thermal environment without draught. Although some heating, ventilation and cooling systems observed in this study should create the prerequisites for ensuring more comfort, results show that this is not the case for all buildings in this study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Thermal Comfort)
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Open AccessArticle
Hybrid Ventilation System and Soft-Sensors for Maintaining Indoor Air Quality and Thermal Comfort in Buildings
Atmosphere 2020, 11(1), 110; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11010110 - 16 Jan 2020
Abstract
Maintaining both indoor air quality (IAQ) and thermal comfort in buildings along with optimized energy consumption is a challenging problem. This investigation presents a novel design for hybrid ventilation system enabled by predictive control and soft-sensors to achieve both IAQ and thermal comfort [...] Read more.
Maintaining both indoor air quality (IAQ) and thermal comfort in buildings along with optimized energy consumption is a challenging problem. This investigation presents a novel design for hybrid ventilation system enabled by predictive control and soft-sensors to achieve both IAQ and thermal comfort by combining predictive control with demand controlled ventilation (DCV). First, we show that the problem of maintaining IAQ, thermal comfort and optimal energy is a multi-objective optimization problem with competing objectives, and a predictive control approach is required to smartly control the system. This leads to many implementation challenges which are addressed by designing a hybrid ventilation scheme supported by predictive control and soft-sensors. The main idea of the hybrid ventilation system is to achieve thermal comfort by varying the ON/OFF times of the air conditioners to maintain the temperature within user-defined bands using a predictive control and IAQ is maintained using Healthbox 3.0, a DCV device. Furthermore, this study also designs soft-sensors by combining the Internet of Things (IoT)-based sensors with deep-learning tools. The hardware realization of the control and IoT prototype is also discussed. The proposed novel hybrid ventilation system and the soft-sensors are demonstrated in a real research laboratory, i.e., Center for Research in Automatic Control Engineering (C-RACE) located at Kalasalingam University, India. Our results show the perceived benefits of hybrid ventilation, predictive control, and soft-sensors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Thermal Comfort)
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Open AccessArticle
Assessment of a Real-Time Prediction Method for High Clothing Thermal Insulation Using a Thermoregulation Model and an Infrared Camera
Atmosphere 2020, 11(1), 106; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11010106 - 15 Jan 2020
Abstract
For evaluating the thermal comfort of occupants, human factors such as clothing thermal insulation (clo level) and metabolic rate (Met) are one of the important parameters as well as environmental factors such as air temperature (Ta) and humidity. In general, a fixed clo [...] Read more.
For evaluating the thermal comfort of occupants, human factors such as clothing thermal insulation (clo level) and metabolic rate (Met) are one of the important parameters as well as environmental factors such as air temperature (Ta) and humidity. In general, a fixed clo level is commonly used for controlling heating, ventilation, and air conditioning using the thermal comfort index. However, a fixed clo level can lead to errors for estimating the thermal comfort of occupants, because clo levels of occupants can vary with time and by season. The present study assesses a method for predicting the clo level of occupants using a thermoregulation model and an infrared (IR) camera. The Tanabe model and the Fanger model were used as the thermoregulation models, and the predicted performance for high clo level (winter clothing) was compared. The skin and clothing temperatures of eight subjects using a non-contact IR camera were measured in a climate chamber. In addition, the measured values were used for the thermoregulation models to predict the clo levels. As a result, the Tanabe model showed a better performance than the Fanger model for predicting clo levels. In addition, all models tended to predict a clo level higher than the traditional method. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Thermal Comfort)
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Open AccessArticle
Fifty Years of PMV Model: Reliability, Implementation and Design of Software for Its Calculation
Atmosphere 2020, 11(1), 49; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11010049 - 29 Dec 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
In most countries, PMV is the reference index for the assessment of thermal comfort conditions in mechanically conditioned environments. It is also the basis to settle input values of the operative temperature for heating and cooling load calculations, sizing of equipment, and energy [...] Read more.
In most countries, PMV is the reference index for the assessment of thermal comfort conditions in mechanically conditioned environments. It is also the basis to settle input values of the operative temperature for heating and cooling load calculations, sizing of equipment, and energy calculations according to EN 16798-1 and 16798-2 Standards. Over the years, great effort has been spent to study the reliability of PMV, whereas few investigations were addressed to its calculation. To study this issue, the most significant apps devoted to its calculation have been compared with a reference software compliant with EN ISO 7730 and the well-known ASHRAE Thermal Comfort Tool. It has been revealed that only few apps consider all six variables responsible for the thermal comfort. Relative air velocity is not considered by ASHRAE Thermal Comfort Tool and, finally, the correction of basic insulation values due to body movements introduced by EN ISO 7730 and EN ISO 9920 Standards has only been considered in one case. This implies that most software and apps for the calculation of PMV index should be used with special care, especially by unexperienced users. This applies to both research and application fields. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Thermal Comfort)
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Open AccessArticle
Adaption of an Evaporative Desert Cooler into a Liquid Desiccant Air Conditioner: Experimental and Numerical Analysis
Atmosphere 2020, 11(1), 40; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11010040 - 28 Dec 2019
Abstract
Desert coolers have attracted much attention as an alternative to mechanical air conditioning systems, as they are proving to be of lower initial cost and significantly lower operating cost. However, the uncontrolled increase in the moisture content of the supply air is still [...] Read more.
Desert coolers have attracted much attention as an alternative to mechanical air conditioning systems, as they are proving to be of lower initial cost and significantly lower operating cost. However, the uncontrolled increase in the moisture content of the supply air is still a great issue for indoor air quality and human thermal comfort concerns. This paper represents an experimental and numerical investigation of a modified desert air cooler into a liquid desiccant air conditioner (LDAC). An experimental setup was established to explore the supply air properties for an adapted commercial desert cooler. Several experiments were performed for air–water and air–desiccant as flow media, at several solutions to air mass ratios. Furthermore, the experimental results were compared with the result of a numerical simplified effectiveness model. The outcomes indicate a sharp reduction in the air humidity ratio by applying the desiccant solutions up to 5.57 g/kg and up to 4.15 g/kg, corresponding to dew point temperatures of 9.5 °C and 12.4 °C for LiCl and CaCl2, respectively. Additionally, the experimental and the numerical results concurred having shown the same pattern, with a maximal deviation of about 18% within the experimental uncertainties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Thermal Comfort)
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Open AccessArticle
Analysis of the Impact of the Construction of a Trombe Wall on the Thermal Comfort in a Building Located in Wrocław, Poland
Atmosphere 2019, 10(12), 761; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos10120761 - 29 Nov 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Changes in climate, which in recent years have become more and more visible all over the world, have forced scientists to think about technologies that use renewable energy sources. This paper proposes a passive solar heating and cooling system, which is a Trombe [...] Read more.
Changes in climate, which in recent years have become more and more visible all over the world, have forced scientists to think about technologies that use renewable energy sources. This paper proposes a passive solar heating and cooling system, which is a Trombe wall located on the southern facade of a room measuring 4.2 m × 5.2 m × 2.6 m in Wrocław, Poland. The studies were carried out by conducting a series of numerical simulations in the Ansys Fluent 16.0 environment in order to examine the temperature distribution and air circulation in the room for two representative days during the heating and cooling period, i.e., 16 January and 15 August (for a Typical Meteorological Year). A temperature increase of 1.11 °C and a temperature decrease in the morning and afternoon hours of 2.27 °C was obtained. Two options for optimizing the passive heating system were also considered. The first involved the use of triple glazing filled with argon in order to reduce heat losses to the environment, and for this solution, a temperature level that was higher by 8.50 °C next to the storage layer and an increase in the average room temperature by 1.52 °C were achieved. In turn, the second solution involved changing the wall material from concrete to brick, which resulted in a temperature increase of 0.40 °C next to the storage layer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Thermal Comfort)
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Open AccessArticle
An IoT Integrated Tool to Enhance User Awareness on Energy Consumption in Residential Buildings
Atmosphere 2019, 10(12), 743; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos10120743 - 26 Nov 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Unaware behaviors of occupants can affect energy consumption even more than incorrect installations and building envelope inefficiencies, with significant overconsumptions widely documented. Real time data and an effective and frequent billing of actual consumptions are required to reach an adequate awareness of energy [...] Read more.
Unaware behaviors of occupants can affect energy consumption even more than incorrect installations and building envelope inefficiencies, with significant overconsumptions widely documented. Real time data and an effective and frequent billing of actual consumptions are required to reach an adequate awareness of energy consumption. From this point of view, the European Directive 2012/27/EU already imposed the use of metering and sub-metering systems, setting the minimum criteria for billing and related information based on real energy consumption data. To assess the ability of buildings to exploit new information and communication technologies (ICT) and sensitize both landlords and tenants to related savings, the new European Directive 2018/844/EU promotes the use of a smart readiness indicator. At the same time, basic information about indoor thermal comfort should be also gathered, aimed at avoiding that an excessive saving tendency can determine the onset of issues related to excessively low internal temperatures. In this paper, the authors address the problem of gathering, processing, and transmitting energy consumption and basic indoor air temperature data in the framework of an Internet of Things (IoT) integrated tool aimed at increasing residential user awareness through the use of consumption and benchmark indexes. Two case-studies in which thermal and electrical energy monitoring systems have been tested are presented and discussed. Finally, the suitability of the communication of energy consumption in terms of temporal, spatial, and typological aggregation has been evaluated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Thermal Comfort)
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Open AccessArticle
Simulation Analysis of a Ventilation System in a Smart Broiler Chamber Based on Computational Fluid Dynamics
Atmosphere 2019, 10(6), 315; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos10060315 - 06 Jun 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
In this paper, a CFD (computational fluid dynamics) numerical calculation was employed to examine whether the ventilation system of the self-designed smart broiler house meets the requirements of cooling and ventilation for the welfare in poultry breeding. The broiler chamber is powered by [...] Read more.
In this paper, a CFD (computational fluid dynamics) numerical calculation was employed to examine whether the ventilation system of the self-designed smart broiler house meets the requirements of cooling and ventilation for the welfare in poultry breeding. The broiler chamber is powered by two negative pressure fans. The fans are designed with different frequencies for the ventilation system according to the specific air temperature in the broiler chamber. The simulation of ventilation in the empty chamber involved five working conditions in this research. The simulation of ventilation in the broiler chamber and the simulation of the age of air were carried out under three working conditions. According to the measured dimensions of the broiler chamber, a three-dimensional model of the broiler chamber was constructed, and then the model was simplified and meshed in ICEM CFD (integrated computer engineering and manufacturing code for computational fluid dynamics). Two models, i.e., the empty chamber mesh model and the chamber mesh model with block model, were imported in the Fluent software for calculation. In the experiment, 15 measurement points were selected to obtain the simulated and measured values of wind velocity. For the acquired data on wind velocity, the root mean square error (RMSE) was 19.1% and the maximum absolute error was 0.27 m/s, which verified the accuracy of the CFD model in simulating the ventilation system of the broiler chamber. The boundary conditions were further applied to the broiler chamber model to simulate the wind velocity and the age of air. The simulation results show that, when the temperature was between 32 and 34 °C, the average wind velocity on the plane of the corresponding broiler chamber (Y = 0.2 m) was higher than 0.8 m/s, which meets the requirement of comfortable breeding. At the lowest frequency of the fan, the oldest age of air was less than 150 s, which meets the basic requirement for broiler chamber design. An optimization idea is proposed for the age of air analysis under three working conditions to improve the structure of this smart broiler chamber. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Thermal Comfort)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
An Extensive Collection of Evaluation Indicators to Assess Occupants’ Health and Comfort in Indoor Environment
Atmosphere 2020, 11(1), 90; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11010090 - 12 Jan 2020
Abstract
Today, the effects of the indoor environment on occupants’ health and comfort represent a very important topic and requires a holistic approach in which the four main environmental factors (thermal comfort, air quality, acoustics, and lighting) should be simultaneously assessed. The present paper [...] Read more.
Today, the effects of the indoor environment on occupants’ health and comfort represent a very important topic and requires a holistic approach in which the four main environmental factors (thermal comfort, air quality, acoustics, and lighting) should be simultaneously assessed. The present paper shows the results of a literature survey that aimed to collect the indicators for the evaluation of occupants’ health and comfort in indoor environmental quality evaluations. A broad number of papers that propose the indicators of a specific environmental factor is available in the scientific literature, but a review that collects the indicators of all four factors is lacking. In this review paper, the difference between indicators for the evaluation of risk for human health and for comfort evaluation is clarified. For each environmental factor, the risk for human health indicators are proposed with the relative threshold values, and the human comfort indicators are grouped into categories according to the number of parameters included, or the specific field of application for which they are proposed. Furthermore, the differences between human health and comfort indicators are highlighted. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Thermal Comfort)
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Open AccessReview
Determination of Thermal Comfort in Indoor Sport Facilities Located in Moderate Environments: An Overview
Atmosphere 2019, 10(12), 769; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos10120769 - 03 Dec 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
In previous years, providing comfort in indoor environments has become a major question for researchers. Thus, indoor environmental quality (IEQ)—concerning the aspects of air quality, thermal comfort, visual and acoustical quality—assumed a crucial role. Considering sport facilities, the evaluation of the thermal environment [...] Read more.
In previous years, providing comfort in indoor environments has become a major question for researchers. Thus, indoor environmental quality (IEQ)—concerning the aspects of air quality, thermal comfort, visual and acoustical quality—assumed a crucial role. Considering sport facilities, the evaluation of the thermal environment is one of the main issues that should be faced, as it may interfere with athletes’ performance and health. Thus, the necessity of a review comprehending the existing knowledge regarding the evaluation of the thermal environment and its application to sport facilities becomes increasingly relevant. This paper has the purpose to consolidate the aspects related to thermal comfort and their application to sport practice, through a deep study concerning the engineering, physiological, and psychological approaches to thermal comfort, a review of the main standards on the topic and an analysis of the methodologies and the models used by researchers to determine the thermal sensation of sport facilities’ occupants. Therefore, this review provides the basis for future research on the determination of thermal comfort in indoor sport facilities located in moderate environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Thermal Comfort)
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