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Influence of personal control on thermal comfort: A psychological effect or just the “right” temperature?

Zierke, Oliver and Goerke, Panja and Maier, Julia and Hoermann, Hans-Juergen (2023) Influence of personal control on thermal comfort: A psychological effect or just the “right” temperature? Energy and Buildings, 295, p. 113334. Elsevier. doi: 10.1016/j.enbuild.2023.113334. ISSN 0378-7788.

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Official URL: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0378778823005649?via%3Dihub


Personal control of indoor environmental conditions has a positive effect on subjective thermal comfort. This has been demonstrated in various field and laboratory studies for both office buildings and long-distance transport. It is still an open question whether the perceived higher comfort was due to the belief of being in control or to the option to set the right temperature. The study was designed to examine this question in an experimental setting in a long-distance train serving as test facility. Winter conditions were simulated for 84 subjects in total who could use infrared panels and seat heating elements, respectively, to adjust their individually preferred temperature in addition to the centrally controlled air condition of the train. In a second experimental condition, the same heating elements were in operation but subjects were not able to control them. Instead, the individual settings of the previous condition had been restored for each subject and were administered again without the subjects’ awareness. Thus, both conditions were identical except for the level of personal control. The personal control of heating elements versus the automated settings did not lead to any differences in the perception or evaluation of temperature, air draught or thermal satisfaction. Thus, the psychological effect of being in control was near zero. The "right" thermal settings appeared to be crucial, whether controlled by the subjects or by an external protocol.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/196073/
Document Type:Article
Title:Influence of personal control on thermal comfort: A psychological effect or just the “right” temperature?
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iDORCID Put Code
Zierke, OliverUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0003-0763-3372UNSPECIFIED
Goerke, PanjaUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-0340-388XUNSPECIFIED
Maier, JuliaUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0003-1387-7939139659394
Hoermann, Hans-JuergenUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-6358-7027UNSPECIFIED
Date:15 September 2023
Journal or Publication Title:Energy and Buildings
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:No
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Page Range:p. 113334
EditorsEmailEditor's ORCID iDORCID Put Code
Niu, JianleiThe Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Kowloon, Hong KongUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Santamouris, MattheosUniversity of Athens, Athens, GreeceUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Keywords:Climate comfort, thermal satisfaction, thermal comfort, personal control, perceived control, personal climatization, personal environmental control (PEC), railway cars, infrared heating, seat heating
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Transport
HGF - Program Themes:Rail Transport
DLR - Research area:Transport
DLR - Program:V SC Schienenverkehr
DLR - Research theme (Project):V - RoSto - Rolling Stock
Location: Hamburg
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Aerospace Medicine
Institute for Aerodynamics and Flow Technology > Ground Vehicles
Deposited By: Zierke, Oliver
Deposited On:01 Aug 2023 09:30
Last Modified:04 Aug 2023 13:28

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