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‘Intelligent furniture’: the potential for heated armchairs to deliver thermal comfort with energy savings in the UK residential context

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conference contribution
posted on 02.07.2018, 11:07 authored by Shiyu Pan, Ziqiao Li, Dennis LovedayDennis Loveday, Peter DemianPeter Demian
Personal heating (or cooling) has long been considered a means for reducing energy demand and providing thermal comfort, most commonly in the form of heated seats. In this paper, findings are reported of what may be the first investigation of the potential for heated furniture to maintain occupant thermal comfort in the UK residential context. In a thermally-controlled environmental room, a thermal manikin was seated in a living-room armchair equipped with an electrically-heated blanket. Results suggested that the manikin total heat flux recorded for the PMV range -0.5 to +0.5 without heated blanket could be achieved in a room 0.7o C cooler but with the blanket operating as compensation. Chest/back radiant asymmetry across the body, and surface contact temperatures of the blanket, were both found to be well-within acceptable limits. The implication for residential energy usage was analytically simulated using an apartment (‘flat’) as a case study. This showed that energy-saving potential was dependant on the building’s thermal performance, the building’s dimensions and occupant behaviours. When extrapolated to the UK housing stock it was found that around 5.6 TWh of energy might be saved by using heated armchairs in the UK instead of whole house heating systems. ‘Intelligent furniture’, in the form of heated armchairs can potentially contribute to energy saving in the UK residential context, and further investigation is warranted.


Z. Li also expresses gratitude for the financial support afforded by a doctoral scholarship from Loughborough University, UK.



  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering

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10th Windsor Conference 'Rethinking Thermal Comfort'


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PAN, S. al., 2018. ‘Intelligent furniture’: the potential for heated armchairs to deliver thermal comfort with energy savings in the UK residential context. IN: Brotas, L. ... et al (eds). Proceedings of 10th Windsor Conference: Rethinking Comfort, Windsor, London, UK, 12-15 April 2018.


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