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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Personal comfort models—A new paradigm in thermal comfort for occupant-centric environmental control


A personal comfort model is a new approach to thermal comfort modeling that predicts an individual’s thermal comfort response, instead of the average response of a large population. It leverages the Internet of Things and machine learning to learn individuals’ comfort requirements directly from the data collected in their everyday environment. Its results could be aggregated to predict comfort of a population. To provide guidance on future efforts in this emerging research area, this paper presents a unified framework for personal comfort models. We first define the problem by providing a brief discussion of existing thermal comfort models and their limitations for real-world applications, and then review the current state of research on personal comfort models including a summary of key advances and gaps. We then describe a modeling framework to establish fundamental concepts and methodologies for developing and evaluating personal comfort models, followed by a discussion of how such models can be integrated into indoor environmental controls. Lastly, we discuss the challenges and opportunities for applications of personal comfort models for building design, control, standards, and future research. 

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