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Test rooms to study human comfort in buildings: A review of controlled experiments and facilities

journal contribution
posted on 02.07.2021, 08:25 by AL Pisello, I Pigliautile, M Andargie, C Berger, PM Bluyssen, S Carlucci, G Chinazzo, Z Deme Belafi, B Dong, M Favero, A Ghahramani, George HavenithGeorge Havenith, A Heydarian, D Kastner, M Kong, D Licina, Y Liu, A Luna-Navarro, A Mahdavi, A Nocente, M Schweiker, M Touchie, M Vellei, F Vittori, A Wagner, A Wang, S Wei
Occupants’ comfort perception affects building energy consumptions. To improve the understanding of human comfort, which is crucial to reduce energy demand, laboratory experiments with humans in controlled environments (test rooms) are fundamental, but their potential also depends on the characteristic of each research facility. Nowadays, there is no common understanding for definitions, concepts, and procedures related to human comfort studies performed in test rooms. Identifying common features would allow standardising test procedures, reproducing the same experiments in different contexts, and sharing knowledge and test possibilities. This review identifies 187 existing test rooms worldwide: 396 papers were systematically selected, thoroughly reviewed, and analysed in terms of performed experiments and related test room details. The review highlights a rising interest in the topic during the last years, since 46% of related papers has been published between 2016 and 2020. A growing interest in non-thermal sensory domains (such as visual and air quality) and multi-domain studies about occupant's whole comfort emerged from the results. These research trends have entailed a change in the way test rooms are designed, equipped and controlled, progressively becoming more realistic inhabitable environments. Nevertheless, some lacks in comfort investigation are highlighted: some continents (like Africa and South America) and climate zones are found to be underrepresented, while involved subjects are mainly students performing office tasks. This review aspires to guide scientists and professionals toward the improved design or the audit of test room experimental facilities, especially in countries and climate zones where human comfort indoors is under-studied.


This review was conducted within the framework of IEA-EBC Annex 79. A.L. Pisello and I. Pigliautile thank the Italian Ministry of Research for supporting NEXT.COM (Towards the NEXT generation of multiphysics and multidomain environmental COMfort) project (Prin 2017–20172FSCH4). I. Pigliautile's acknowledgments are due to the European Union's Horizon 2020 program – GEOFIT project (G.A. 792210). M. Vellei's work is supported by the French National Research Agency under the project ANR CLEF (ANR-17-CE22-0005-01). B. Dong, M. Kong and Y.P. Liu's work is supported by U.S. National Science Foundation (Award: #1949372) and Syracuse Centre of Excellence Faculty Fellowship Award. M. Favero and A. Nocente would like to thank the Research Centre on Zero Emission Neighborhoods in Smart Cities (FME ZEN, Grant n. 257660) and the Research Council of Norway (Norges Forskingsrådet) for the support. M. Schweiker is supported by a research grant (21055) from VILLUM FONDEN. Z. Deme Bélafi has been supported by the NRDI Fund (TKP2020 IES, Grant No. BME-IE-MISC) based on the charter of bolster issued by the NRDI Office under the auspices of the Ministry for Innovation and Technology within the framework of project (no. K 128199) with the support provided from the National Research, Development and Innovation Fund of Hungary, financed under the K_18 funding scheme. A. Wagner's related work is funded by the German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy through various projects.



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Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews




Elsevier BV


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Prof George Havenith. Deposit date: 1 July 2021

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