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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Effect of a heated and cooled office chair on thermal comfort

Creative Commons 'BY' version 4.0 license

A heated/cooled chair was evaluated for its effect on thermal sensation and comfort. Thirty college students participated in 150 1.75-hour tests. Two heated/cooled chairs were placed in an environmental chamber resembling an office environment. The chamber temperatures were set at 16, 18, 25 and 29 °C (60.8, 64.4, 77, 84.2 °F). During the tests the subjects had full control of the chair surface temperature through a knob located on the desk. An additional 64 tests with sixteen subjects were conducted at the same four temperatures but with regular mesh or cushion chairs in order to provide reference results for comparison.  Subjective responses about thermal sensation, comfort, and temperature satisfaction were obtained at 20 minute intervals and eight times before, during, and after a break period. The chair’s energy consumption was monitored continuously. The results show that the heated/cooled chair strongly influences the subjects’ thermal sensation and comfort, providing thermal comfort under all tested conditions, both warm and cool. The average power draw is 27 Watts at 16ºC (60.8 °F), and 45.5 Watts at 29ºC ambient conditions (84.2 °F). 

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