Thermal comfort and indoor air quality in rooms with integrated personalized ventilation and under-floor air distribution systems

Ruixin Li, S. C. Sekhar ., Arsen Krikor Melikov

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


A comprehensive study comprising physical measurements and human subject experiments was conducted to explore the potential for improving occupants' thermal comfort and indoor air quality (IAQ) using a personalized ventilation (PV) system combined with an under-floor air distribution(UFAD) system. The integrated PV-UFAD system, when operated at relatively high temperature of the air supplied from the UFAD system, provided comfortable cooling of the facial region, improved inhaled air quality, and decreased the risk of "cold feet," which is often reported in rooms with UFAD alone. This article explores associations between the physical measurements and human responses in a room served with a PV-UFAD system. The experiments were conducted in a field environmental chamber served by two dedicated systems-a primary air-handling unit (AHU) for 100% outdoor air that is supplied through the PV air terminal devices and a secondary AHU for 100% recirculated air that is supplied through UFAD outlets. Velocity and temperature distribution in the chamber were measured. A breathing thermal manikin was used to measure the heat loss from 26 body segments and to determine the equivalent temperature. The responses of 30 human subjects were collected. The experiments were performed at various combinations of room air and PV air temperatures. The results reveal improved overall thermal sensation and decrease of cold feet complaints, as well as improved inhaled air quality (including perceived air quality) with PV-UFAD in comparison with the reference case of UFAD alone or mixing ventilation with a ceiling supply diffuser. Increase of predicted draft rating with the decrease of the local thermal sensation at the feet was identified. The manikin-based equivalent temperature determined for the face was positively correlated with thermal sensation at the face region. The measured inhaled air quality indices (personalized exposure effectiveness and personalized exposure index) were improved by decreasing PV supply air temperature. The perceived inhaled air freshness increased with the decrease of the inhaled air temperature and increase of facial velocity.
Original languageEnglish
JournalHvac&r Research
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)829-846
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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