Skip navigation to main content.
NREL - National Renewable Energy Laboratory
About NRELEnergy AnalysisScience and TechnologyTechnology TransferTechnology DeploymentEnergy Systems Integration

Thermal Comfort Model

Photo of human testing to determine thermal comfort perception data. Photo of human testing to determine thermal comfort perception data.

Working with researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, our team at NREL developed an empirical model of people's temperature sensation (hot/cold) as well as perceptions (comfortable/uncomfortable) in a transient non-homogeneous environment. The model predicts sensation and comfort locally (at specific points on the body) as well as globally (overall).

The university performed more than 100 tests on human test subjects in a controlled environmental chamber under a range of steady state and transient thermal conditions. Participants subjectively recorded their thermal comfort on a simple form. Core and local skin temperature data was recorded as well. These data were used to develop numerical correlations to convert human physiological data into sensation and comfort. The thermal comfort model receives core temperatures, skin temperatures, and the rates of change from the physiological model and sends data to ADAM, the advanced automotive thermal manikin.