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Analysis of the Thermal Comfort and Energy Performance of a Thermal Chair for Open Plan Office

Original scientific paper

Journal of Sustainable Development of Energy, Water and Environment Systems
Volume 8, Issue 2, June 2020, pp 373-395
DOI: https://doi.org/10.13044/j.sdewes.d7.0298
Sally Shahzad1, Katrina Calautit2, Shuangyu Wei2, Paige W. Tien2, John Calautit2 , Ben Hughes3, 4
1 School of Architecture, University of Sheffield, Sheffield S10 2TN, United Kingdom
2 Department of Architecture and Built Environment, University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham NG7 2RD, United Kingdom
3 Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of Strathclyde, 16 Richmond Street, Glasgow, G1 1XQ, Scotland, United Kingdom


The aim of this work is to analyse the thermal comfort and energy performance of a thermal heating chair for open plan office using field experiments, thermal comfort survey and energy simulations. A comprehensive review on the development of thermal chairs was carried out to highlight the present research gaps. The study developed a thermal chair prototype with controllable heating pads, incorporated into the back of the seat and back rest fabric. The field test was carried out in an office building in the UK during the winter. The study showed that the users set the thermal chair temperature between 29-45 °C. The field survey results of the thermal satisfaction survey showed that 19 out of 44 participants felt satisfied before using the device. While after using the thermal chair, the number of satisfied respondents increased to 34. The work also utilised Building Energy Simulation to further assess the thermal comfort and energy performance of the thermal chair. Three cases were simulated: non heated office chair with the zone thermostat maintained at 22 °C, non heated office chair with the zone thermostat at 16-20 °C and thermal chair with the zone thermostat at 16-20 °C.

Keywords: Buildings, Energy simulation, Field testing, Thermal sensation, Thermal comfort.

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