The potential of the adaptive thermal comfort concept in longterm actively conditioned buildings for improved energy performance and user wellbeing

Runa T. Hellwig, Despoina Teli, Atze Boerstra

Research output: Contribution to journalConference article in JournalResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
11 Downloads (Pure)


Technological progress in conditioning practice combined with prevailing thermal comfort criteria, created stable, tightly controlled indoor temperature bands. Research shows indoor temperatures to be increasing in the heating period, leading to higher building energy use than planned. Field studies provide proof that occupants not in control of their indoor climate are more dissatisfied and report problems in wellbeing. Widening temperature bands could be an effective measure leading to energy conservation, increasing satisfaction and, as shown recently, helping to mitigate health problems related to our way of life. The adaptive approach to thermal comfort postulates that people's thermal comfort perception adapts to the indoor and outdoor climatic conditions they normally experience. However, according to standards, the adaptive model is applicable only to passively conditioned (free-running) buildings, even though the adaptive principles may well apply also to actively conditioned buildings. Our review found studies demonstrating positive health effects and energy conservation potential in permanently or seasonally conditioned buildings. On this basis, the potential of the adaptive approach and translations into concrete design or operation solutions for actively conditioned buildings are discussed in this paper. We conclude that the adaptive concept offers a potential for indoor climate control in actively conditioned buildings in the temperate and cold climates.
Original languageEnglish
Article number032069
JournalIOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 20 Nov 2020
EventBEYOND 2020 - World Sustainable Built Environment Conference (WSBE) - Chalmers, Gothenburg, Sweden
Duration: 9 Jun 202011 Jun 2020


ConferenceBEYOND 2020 - World Sustainable Built Environment Conference (WSBE)


  • well being
  • Diversity
  • human building interaction
  • Zoning
  • thermal perception
  • Rebound effect
  • Energy efficient buildings
  • comprehensive comfort evaluation
  • acclimatisation
  • Indoor Environment


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