Smart Energy for Building Comfort

Smart Energy for Building Comfort

Smart Energy for Building Comfort
Smart Energy for Building Comfort

Personal heating; effectiveness and energy use

This project is on personalized heating from three perspectives:

  1. actuators design (i.e. the actual heaters)
  2. process control
  3. the energy consumption

The common long-term vision within the BPS research program is articulated:

“World-class excellent research in the different disciplines in Building Physics & Services to strongly contribute to a healthy, comfortable and sustainable indoor and outdoor built environment, taking into account economical, ecological and energetic constraints”.

Smart Energy for Building Comfort

To better match energy demand and energy need to achieve improved overall efficiency, the process control of the energy infrastructure in the buildings also needs to become smart, intelligent and capable of adaptable behavior in changing conditions.

Especially is it of great importance to take in account the goal of the energy use: human comfort.

Dynamic individual local comfort control with the use of:

  • low cost sensors
  • low cost infra red cameras

lead to comfort-energy management on workspace and even personal level instead of only at room level.

Personalized Conditioning Systems (PCS)

Actual user behavior is monitored and leading in the process control as well as in the control of electrical appliances and lighting.

A multi agent approach will let the system respond in a optimal way to all the changing conditions and situations.

Seeking for higher effectiveness by providing thermal comfort lead to development of personalized conditioning systems. These systems aim to create a microclimate just around a single user.

  • PCS aim to provide heating, cooling and fresh air for every single person rather than to condition the whole room including the unoccupied space
  • PCS are in principle more effective than traditional HVAC systems, because only the spaces around the persons are conditioned instead of conditioning the entire room.
  • Personalization also allows satisfaction of individual needs, which leads to improved comfort.
  • PCS often creates a non-uniform thermal environment, which may be seen as a disadvantage considering that the current building practice aims at achieving uniform and stable conditions all year round. It has been shown that only few body parts can be a source of discomfort in a uniform thermal environment

This allows to adjust the thermal environment to individual needs and the energy is deployed only in the space where it actually needed.


The research group proposes a model for analyzing the energy saving potential of buildings applying PCS.

  • The proposed model is implemented in the evaluation of personalized heating.
  • Input parameters for the calculations were obtained by screening literature via common scientific databases.
  • The model builds on experience gained in prior studies conducted at Eindhoven University of Technology (Filippini 2010; Vissers 2012).
  • To evaluate both the building and PCS itself for assessing the energy saving potential, the characteristics of PCS have to be translated to the building level and combined with the energy saving potential that can be obtained from extending the ambient temperature range, i.e. decreasing heating or increasing cooling set point.


Our results reveal an energy saving potential of up to 34 % of energy consumption of the HVAC system during the winter period, when the heating setpoint is lowered by 3.5ºC (from 21.5ºC to 18ºC) and personalized heating is used to compensate for the general thermal discomfort.

Energy consumption during winter [MWh] results confirm a remarkable energy saving potential of using personalized heating with lowered heating setpoint.

One specific building and one specific climate zone

In this study, only one case from the analysis by Zhang et al. (H. Zhang et al. 2010) is used. This case is a model of a general office building during very cold winter. Therefore, our analysis is limited only to one specific building and one specific climate zone.

Conclusions and further research

Properly designed PCS improves comfort and reduces energy consumption due to increased effectiveness of the HVAC systems.

In this paper, a universal model is introduced that allows an easy comparison of different personalized heating systems and estimation of achievable energy savings.

  • The case study demonstrates a substantial energy saving potential of personalized heating of up to 34 % of HVAC energy consumption during the winter period.
  • Our study also outlined several limitations resulting from lack of available data. Therefore, it would be beneficial to discuss on a broader academic level creating a guideline or a standard that would unify a way, in which the studies on PCS are reported.
  • Furthermore, this model should be also applied in different climates and contexts in order to evaluate a viability or personalized heating under different conditions.

Link to the full research report including the models


Links to related research topics


TU Eindhoven, faculteit bouwkunde

Prof. ir. Wim Zeiler   
040 2473714


Jan. 2013 – Jan. 2017

Reageer op dit artikel

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *