The effects of a mismatch between thermal comfort modeling and HVAC controls from an occupancy perspective


Incorporating data-driven thermal comfort models into occupant-centric HVAC controls is crucial to meet occupants’ preferences in thermal comfort. Although HVAC controls and thermal comfort modeling are highly inter-related, the interactions between their various resolutions require further study for a better understanding. This study aims to establish the effects of a mismatch between the occupancy resolutions of thermal comfort modeling and HVAC controls. We evaluated the energy and thermal comfort performance of different combinations of thermal comfort models and HVAC controls, focusing on their occupancy resolutions (zone, group, and personal thermal comfort models and zone, group, and personal HVAC controls). A mismatch between thermal comfort modeling and HVAC controls can result in a 6–12% decrease in occupants voting “no change” in thermal and air movement preference. Energy savings can be increased by more than 10% when considering a suitable comfort model for the HVAC control. The results demonstrate the importance of selecting a thermal comfort model with an appropriate occupancy resolution commensurate with the resolution of the HVAC controls.

Building and Environment