Thermal comfort

What is thermal comfort?

Thermal comfort is the aggregate set of environmental parameters that have a bearing on how people experience warmth

Our sense of thermal comfort is influenced by factors such as air and mean radiant temperature, air speed, humidity and personal characteristics or circumstances (such as activity level, metabolism and clothing insulation).

Influencing factors

The Fanger model

In the 1970s, Professor Ole Fanger developed a model that predicts whether a person would experience the thermal comfort of a room as pleasant. This model, which continues to be used today, is based on a number of parameters.

These are the Fanger model comfort parameters:

  • Air speed
  • Air temperature
  • Mean radiant temperature
  • Humidity
  • Clothing insulation
  • Metabolism

Another key parameter of thermal comfort is option available to the user to set his or her own preferred temperature (within a specific maximum and minimum temperature range).

Scientific research

Science confirms the significance of thermal comfort:

  • Thermal body regulation is regulated by a homoeostatic mechanism that responds to external temperature signals and internal hormonal signals that ensure that the core body temperature remains around 37°C.
  • Wyon's study (1996) shows that installing effective temperature regulation can increase performance by up to 7%.
  • Kroner & Stark-Martin's field research (1992) shows that people are 4% more productive where a personal climate system is present.

Certifications

Sustainability certificates

BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method)

This assessment method determines the sustainability of buildings. It was developed and introduced by the English research body Building Research Establishment (BRE). The method is divided into five different standards: 1) Communities, 2) Infrastructure, 3) New Construction, 4) In-Use, and 5) Refurbishment and Fit-Out.

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)

LEED is an assessment and certification system used to determine building sustainability performance. The method was set up in 1998 by the US Green Building Council (USGBC) and is the most widely used sustainability tool in the United States. 

Wellbeing certificate

WELL

People – and not just sustainability and energy – are increasingly the centre of focus in the design of new buildings. The end goal is to guarantee the user’s wellbeing. It’s for this reason that the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) introduced the WELL Building Standard in 2014, to promote healthy and sustainable buildings. It was updated in 2018 based on experience gained: WELL v2.

This performance-based standard measures, certifies and monitors the built environment and its effect on our health. In so doing, WELL strives towards designing buildings that make users healthier and happier. The air, comfort, sound and light quality are measured and improved based on personal needs. WELL, therefore, specifically targets the health and wellbeing of building users.

Trusted partner: SIG Air Handling

Total solutions

HVAC expert (heating, ventilation & air conditioning) SIG Air Handling provides total solutions in the area of thermal comfort, including microclimate control and personal regulation by users, along with monitoring and regulation of relative humidity. 

SIG Air Handling also implements fully integrated Smartwellbeing solutions to create an optimal indoor climate (indoor air, thermal comfort, acoustics and light). Our specialists combine products, systems and services with advanced control technology and smart building technology (Smart Building). And that’s how we create a healthy living, work and residential environment that the user is able – based on his or her own needs – to help determine. 

Development and testing

Our experts also put their experience to work in the (continued) development of new products and systems, services and project-specific solutions for every indoor climate issue. 

In relation to climate, noise, control technology, performance, installation and assembly, SIG Air Handling has a wide range of testing facilities for this purpose. Where necessary, we also employ complementary techniques such as BIM/Revit, CFD, big data and 3D printing. 

Specific advice

Are you interested in thermal comfort or Smartwellbeing-related advice? Our specialists are eager to help with any indoor climate technology-related issues.

Please feel free to contact one of our specialists.

case-EDGE-olympic-cover

Smartwellbeing case

The EDGE

Minimal impact on the world and maximum user wellbeing: that's the contemporary office building EDGE Olympic (The EDGE) in a nutshell. This project has been awarded several different certificates, including WELL Good, an A EU Energy Label, and a four-star BREEAM performance rating. 

The building achieved an impressive BREAAM score of 98.36%. On 1 November 2014, the project was reputed as being the most sustainable building in the world.

More resources

There are a number of great resources available for diving further into the world of Smartwellbeing.