Temperature sensitivity analysis of thermal comfort in a UK residential building

This research focusses on investigating the sensitivity of thermal comfort to temperature in a heated space. Thermal comfort test sessions are conducted in a test house representative of a typical UK house during the winter season. A total of 119 participants took part in the series of tests conducted in the test house’s living room. Operative temperature in the heated space was maintained within the comfortable range recommended by CIBSE for a living room area in a UK house. Two different heating emitters were used for heating during the tests in order to examine their effects on occupant thermal comfort. Conventional radiators supplemented by a gas boiler and an electric fan heater were investigated in the presence and absence of a circulation fan running in the corner of the room. Thermal comfort sensation of occupants was calculated using sensors installed in the living room (Fanger’s Predicted Mean Vote). At the same time the occupants were asked to fill in surveys which were used to record their Actual Mean Vote. From the test sessions conducted it was found that AMV predicted a neutral temperature of 23.5°C whilst PMV predicted a neutral temperature of 24.0°C thus PMV over predicted the occupant’s thermal sensation compared to AMV. For the four heating scenarios it was found that a convective fan heater with a circulation fan causes the smallest temperature gradient (1.0oC) between ankle and head height for a seated occupant according to ISO7730 standards. The highest temperature gradient was measured for fan heater without a circulation fan (7.3oC). Occupants reported to be most uncomfortable if the convector heater without a circulation fan was used.