Building Simulation: An International Journal

Article Title

Predictions of thermal comfort in stratified room environment


thermal comfort, non-uniform thermal environment, displacement ventilation, air terminal device


Studies of thermal comfort of occupants started in the early part of the 20th century to describe the comfort level in terms of environmental variables. Field studies have indicated that many of the complaints about unsatisfactory indoor environment can be attributed to the thermal environment. Hence, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are used in buildings to create thermal environments that are capable of providing comfort to the occupants. Among different ventilation systems, displacement ventilation (DV) systems have become popular as more energy efficient room air distribution systems compared with the other more common forms of air distribution systems, such as mixing ventilation. However, local cold discomfort at the lower extremities due to vertical temperature gradient is often reported with DV systems. Although many studies are reported in the literature that compare the performance of the DV systems with the other more conventional types of ventilation systems, the performance of different displacement ventilation types in providing thermal comfort need further investigation. The aim of the current work is to compare the ventilation performance, as predicted by an advanced thermal comfort model, of three commonly used DV air terminal devices (ATDs) for room ventilation: a flat wall diffuser (ATD1), semi-cylindrical wall diffuser (ATD2) and floor swirl diffusers (ATD3). The CBE (Center for the Built Environment at Berkeley) comfort model has been implemented in this study to compare the thermal comfort provided by the three ATDs due to its good performance in non-uniform thermal environments. Based on the test conditions and the results obtained from the comfort model, the predicted occupant’s local sensations for the case of ATD2 were better than those for ATD1 and ATD3 and it showed better overall thermal sensation. Since the local comfort of the CBE model is a function of both local and overall thermal sensations, the predicted occupant’s local comfort values for ATD2 were better than those for ATD1 and ATD3 and consequently it provided better overall thermal comfort.


Tsinghua University Press