The impacts of the thermal radiation field on thermal comfort, energy consumption and control - A critical overview

The impacts of the thermal radiation field on thermal comfort, energy consumption and control - A critical overview

Title
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsHalawa, E, van Hoof, J, Soebarto, V
JournalRenewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
Volume37
Start Page907
Date Published09/2014
Type of ArticleReview
Abstract

Thermal comfort is determined by the combined effect of the six thermal comfort parameters: temperature, air moisture content, thermal radiation, air relative velocity, personal activity and clothing level as formulated by Fanger through his double heat balance equation.  In conventional air conditioning systems, air temperature is the parameter that is normally controlled whilst others are assumed to have values within the specified ranges at the design stage. In Fanger’s double heat balance equation, thermal radiation factor appears as the mean radiant temperature (MRT), however, its impact on thermal comfort is often ignored. This paper discusses the impacts of the thermal radiation field which takes the forms of mean radiant temperature and radiation asymmetry on thermal comfort, building energy consumption and air-conditioning control. Several conditions and applications in which the effects of mean radiant temperature and radiation asymmetry cannot be ignored are discussed. Several misinterpretations that arise from the formula relating mean radiant temperature and the operative temperature are highlighted, coupled with a discussion on the lack of reliable and affordable devices that measure this parameter. The usefulness of the concept of the operative temperature as a measure of combined effect of mean radiant and air temperatures on occupant’s thermal comfort is critically questioned, especially in relation to the control strategy based on this derived parameter. Examples of systems which deliver comfort using thermal radiation are presented. Finally, the paper presents various options that need to be considered in the efforts to mitigate the impacts of the thermal radiant field on the occupants’ thermal comfort and building energy consumption.

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