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Building and Environment 141 (2018) 71–79

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Experimental comparison of thermal comfort during cooling with a fan coil T

system and radiant floor system at varying space heights
Chao Cena,b, Yihong Jiaa,c, Kuixing Liua,c,∗, Ruoxi Gengd
School of Architecture, Tianjin University, Tianjin, 300072, China
Department of Building, School of Design and Environment, National University of Singapore, Architecture Drive, Singapore, 117566, Singapore
School of Architecture, Tianjin University, Tianjin Key Laboratory of Architectural Physics and Environmental Technology, Tianjin, 300072, China
School of International Engineering, Tianjin University, China


Keywords: With the development of the economy, architectural space forms and air conditioning systems have become
Thermal comfort more and more diverse. This paper presents a comparative study on thermal comfort in spaces of varying heights
Fan coil system using a fan coil system and a radiant floor system for cooling in the “Comprehensive Experiment Platform of
Radiant floor system Variable Building Space” located in Tianjin, China. A total of 30 subjects participated the questionnaire survey
Space height
under 8 different experimental conditions, and the indoor thermal environmental parameters were collected for
these two systems at varying space height by instrument monitoring. Results indicated that space height had a
significant effect on thermal comfort for both the fan coil system and the radiant floor system. The neutral
temperature at space height of 3, 5, 7, and 9 m were 24.8 °C, 24.2 °C, 23.8 °C, and 23.5 °C, respectively. The
neutral temperature gradually decreased with height of the ceiling when using a fan coil system, which means
that participants had greater requirements for cooling at greater heights. In contrast, the neutral temperature at
heights of 3, 5, 7, and 9 m were 23.5 °C, 23.8 °C, 24.1 °C, and 24.5 °C, respectively. The neutral temperature
gradually increased when using the floor radiant system with increasing height, indicating that participants had
lower requirements for cooling at greater heights. Furthermore, the results of this study demonstrate that the
floor radiant system had an advantage over the fan coil system for thermal comfort in a space of greater height.

1. Introduction 17 × 24 × 14 ft (5.18 × 7.32 × 4.27 m), and determined that the ra-
diant floor system had significant advantage of providing considerable
Since the introduction of air conditioning technology intended to space in the room and having a heating apparatus that is invisible.
satisfy the thermal comfort requirements of inhabitants in office However, tests of subject foot temperature revealed that radiant floor
buildings, commercial buildings, cinemas, and residential buildings, systems could cause local discomfort. Subsequent research on radiant
new types of air conditioning systems have been developed. systems suggested that these systems had many advantages for thermal
Researchers have carried out thermal comfort studies on different types comfort compared to convective systems. L.Z. Zhang [13] and C. Stetiu
of air conditioning systems [1–10]. Air conditioning systems that are [14] suggested that radiant systems could reduce air movement and
widely used at present can be divided into two categories based on their draft. Furthermore, Zhang concluded that radiant systems provided
heat transfer mechanism: convective air conditioning systems and ra- more homogeneous conditioning in a space by measuring the mean
diant air conditioning systems. The pros and cons of these two types of temperature, mean humidity, and maximum relative humidity (RH)
systems for thermal comfort have long been of concern to heating, with a chilled ceiling system. The same conclusion was obtained by O.
ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) researchers. Bozkır with field measurements [15]. Results of experiments carried out
in an indoor environmental chamber by F. Causone [16] showed that
1.1. Literature review thermal comfort was better with a radiant floor system owing to the
highest view factor of the occupants.
Radiant systems have long been used for indoor heating [11]. F.A. Although radiant systems have advantages in terms of thermal
Chrenko [12] conducted experimental studies in 1957 on thermal comfort, researchers have also discovered their disadvantages. P. O.
comfort with a radiant floor system in a laboratory measuring Fanger and B. W. Olessen [17–19] suggested that a typical feature of the

Corresponding author. School of Architecture, Tianjin University, Tianjin, 300072, China.
E-mail address: (K. Liu).
Received 19 February 2018; Received in revised form 25 May 2018; Accepted 27 May 2018
Available online 28 May 2018
0360-1323/ © 2018 Published by Elsevier Ltd.
C. Cen et al. Building and Environment 141 (2018) 71–79

Nomenclature TABS Thermally activated building systems

VAV Variable air volume
HVAC Heating, ventilating and air conditioning PMV Predicted mean vote
CB Chilled beam TSV Thermal sensation vote
CBR Chilled beam with radiant panel MTSV Mean thermal sensation vote
CCMV Chilled ceiling with ceiling installed mixing ventilation ASHP Air source heat pump
MTVV Mixing total volume ventilation DV Displacement ventilation
ACB Active chilled beam

thermal environment with radiant systems was temperature asym- parameters of the building environment. G. Salvalai [33] used En-
metry, which could cause discomfort for the human body. Both ISO ergyplus software to simulate an indoor thermal environment with
7730 [20] and ASHRAE 55 [21] indicated that there were limitations of ceiling panels, thermally activated building systems (TABS) and fan
radiant asymmetry with the use of radiant walls, floors, and ceilings. In coils under cooling conditions, and concluded that the radiation system
addition, ISO 7730 and ASHRAE 55 described other features that are provided a better thermal environment than the air system. Using De-
unfavorable for human thermal comfort in a radiant-system thermal sign Builder software, A.A. Chowdhury [35] compared the predicted
environment such as floor temperatures that were too low or too high, mean vote (PMV) for a variable air volume (VAV) system and radiant
and a large difference in the air temperature between the head and ceiling panels with the same meteorological parameters, and concluded
ankles. In addition, Fanger [22] suggested that drafts caused by air that the radiant system provided a more comfortable thermal en-
movement could also cause local discomfort. vironment.
In addition to analyzing the characteristics of the thermal environ- Table 1 summarizes the working conditions, research methods, and
ment with convective and radiant systems, many researchers have results of comparative studies on thermal comfort with convective and
performed comparative studies of thermal comfort with two types of air radiant systems. In comparing the thermal comfort achieved with
conditioning systems [23–36]. convective air conditioning systems and radiant air conditioning sys-
Q. Jin carried out a human test in a climate chamber during the tems, the conclusions of these studies are not consistent. It is worth
winter season to study human's thermal sensation. Three low-tem- noting that researchers, whether using field research, laboratory stu-
perature heating systems were used: a conventional radiator, a venti- dies, or numerical simulations, have largely ignored the impact of the
lation radiator, and floor heating with exhaust ventilation. The results size of the space on the thermal comfort achieved with various types of
showed that there were no significant differences in thermal sensation air conditioning systems. For instance [12], and [25] provide the size of
or thermal comfort among the three heating systems [23]. However, it the laboratory and test beds used, respectively, and draw conclusions
could be seen that in the evaluation of thermal comfort of convective about thermal comfort for convection and radiant systems for those
and radiant terminals, the results of previous research were inconsistent spatial dimensions. However, it is worth questioning how these con-
and sometimes conflicted with each other [24]. P. Mustakallio [25] clusions might change if the sizes of the laboratory or test beds were
measured the indoor thermal environment in summer conditions with different.
four different cooling systems: chilled beam (CB), chilled beam with
radiant panel (CBR), chilled ceiling with ceiling installed mixed venti- 1.2. Objectives
lation (CCMV), and overhead mixing total volume ventilation (MTVV).
The results indicated that there was little variation in the thermal en- This study aims to investigate the influence of the size of space on
vironment parameters for the four air conditioning systems. To study thermal comfort with different types of air conditioning systems, and
thermal uniformity with an active chilled beam (ACB) system and provides a reference for choosing suitable air conditioning systems for
conventional air distribution systems, thermal comfort experiments buildings of various sizes. To achieve this goal, a comparative experi-
under heating with an air source heat pump, radiator and floor heating ment was designed using the “Comprehensive Experiment Platform of
were designed by B. Lin [26] at Tsinghua University. The results of Variable Building Space” at Tianjin University. Based on existing con-
occupant thermal comfort questionnaires showed that radiant heating ditions, a comparative experiment was conducted in cooling conditions
did not provide significantly higher overall thermal satisfaction. K. N. with a fan coil system and a radiant floor system in spaces of varying
Rheea [27] conducted experiments on a test bed measuring height.
8.5 m (W) × 11.8 m (L) × 2.7 m (H) and concluded that ACB systems
could achieve acceptable thermal uniformity with a lower air flow rate
2. Data collection
from the air handling unit than with conventional air distribution sys-
2.1. Experimental conditions
In addition to the experimental methods, some researchers have
studied thermal comfort for the two types of systems by simulating the
The Comprehensive Experiment Platform of Variable Building Space

Table 1
Summary of comparative studies with convective and radiant systems.
Author Condition Research method Convective systems Radiant systems

P. Mustakallio [23] Cooling Lab experiment CB, CBR MTVV, CCMV

B. Lin [26] Heating Field study ASHP Floor Heating
K.N. Rheea [27] Cooling Lab experiment Conventional air distribution systems ACB
S. Schiavon [28] Cooling Lab experiment DV Chilled ceiling
G. Sastry [29] Cooling Field study VAV Mixing ventilation
B.W. Olesen [31] Heating Lab experiment Radiant ceiling, radiant floor Mixing ventilation
R.W. Kulpmann [32] Cooling Lab experiment Radiant ceiling panels with DV DV
G. Salvalai [33] Cooling Building performance simulation ceiling panels Fan coil
A.A. Chowdhury [35] Cooling Building performance simulation Radiant ceiling panels VAV

C. Cen et al. Building and Environment 141 (2018) 71–79

in Tianjin University is a laboratory in which the space available (in- avoid environmental interaction, as shown in Table 2. For example,
cluding the floor size and height) can be changed with an automatic after turning off the radiant floor system, the floor temperature would
control system, as shown in Fig. 1 and Fig. 2. The laboratory is remain low for a long time. If the next experiment used the fan coil
equipped with two sets of air conditioning systems: a fan coil system system immediately, this would interfere with the results of the ex-
and a radiant floor system, as shown in Fig. 3 and Fig. 4. periments. In this case, the next experiment could only be started once
Experiments on thermal comfort conditions with these two systems the floor temperature had returned to a normal level after switching
in cooling conditions in space of varying heights were conducted in between systems.
August and September 2017. This study focused on the effects of space
height on thermal comfort for two types of system. The floor area was 3. Results
fixed at 9 × 9 m, and the space heights were 3, 5, 7, and 9 m. Table 2
summarizes the numbers, conditions, and dates of the experiments. 3.1. Thermal environment parameters

2.2. Thermal environmental data measurement Table 4 lists the thermal parameters in the laboratory under dif-
ferent conditions. As the results show, the lowest temperature in the
Physical parameters including air temperature, air humidity, mean laboratory during the experiments was 19.20 °C, and the highest tem-
radiant temperature, and air velocity in the laboratory were measured perature was 27.20 °C, indicating a moderate thermal environment
in accordance with ISO 7730 [20] and ASHRAE 55–1992 [21] for each during the experiments. Experiments 1, 2, 5, and 6 gave the thermal
set of experimental conditions. Table 3 summarizes the instruments environment parameters for the fan coil system with space heights of 3,
used for each measured parameter as well as their range and accuracy. 5, 9, and 7 m, respectively, while Experiments 3, 4, 7, and 8 gave the
Instruments were placed at the center of the testing space at a height of thermal environment parameters for the radiant floor system at space
0.6 m, as the participants were sitting on chairs during the experiments. heights of 7, 9, 5, and 3 m, respectively. The average temperatures
during Experiments 1, 2, 5, and 6 were 24.01 °C, 20.84 °C, 25.48 °C and
2.3. Questionnaire survey 23.55 °C, respectively, and the average wind speeds were 0.09 m/s,
0.09 m/s, 0.1 m/s, and 0.12 m/s, respectively. The average tempera-
In addition to the indoor thermal environment monitoring, this tures during Experiments 3, 4, 7, and 8 were 23.11 °C, 25.3 °C, 20.36 °C,
study also obtained thermal sensation data and an evaluation of the and 22.89 °C, respectively, and the average wind speeds were 0.03 m/s,
thermal environment directly through a questionnaire-based survey. 0.03 m/s, 0.03 m/s, and 0.04 m/s, respectively. These results indicated
The questionnaire was designed according to the guidelines for the that the temperatures with the two types of air conditioning systems are
Thermal Environment Survey in Standard 55, and included questions the same for the same space height, while the wind speeds show sig-
about participant clothing, thermal sensation, and thermal preference. nificant differences. The wind speed with the fan coil system at each
A total of 30 people participated in these experiments, all of whom were space height was always higher than that with the radiant floor system.
graduate students in the School of International Engineering at Tianjin
University. The participants are 21–26 years of age, and the male to
3.2. Questionnaire responses
female ratio was approximately 1:1.

3.2.1. Participant demography information

2.4. Experimental protocol
Background information about the participants was collected as part
of the thermal comfort questionnaire, including the gender and age. Of
To investigate the thermal comfort of a fan coil system and radiant
the 30 participants in the experiment, 17 were male and 13 were fe-
floor system at different temperature levels, the thermal environment
male, as shown in Fig. 5. The age distribution of as the participants is
was designed to provide three conditions: warm condition, moderate
also shown, and the ages fall largely within the range of 22–24 years.
condition and cool condition. According to the pre-test data of the
thermal environment in the experimental space, the difference between
the actual air temperature and the set point fluctuated within the range 3.2.2. Thermal sensation vote
of ± 1.5 °C in both systems. Based on this, the air temperature setting of Table 5 lists the specific values of the thermal sensation vote (TSV)
cool, moderate, and warm conditions were 20 °C, 23 °C and 26 °C, re- for each experimental condition. The results show that the thermal
spectively. Therefore, the experiment time in an experimental day was sensation votes for each experimental condition are between −3 (cold)
divided into three parts: morning (9 a.m.–12 a.m.), afternoon (2 p.m.–5 and 2 (warm). Thermal sensation votes in the range (−1, 1) are defined
p.m.), and night (7 p.m.–9 p.m.). To shorten the time for cooling the
experimental space to set temperature range for each condition and to
reduce energy consumption, experiments in the moderate condition
were conducted in the morning, warm condition in the afternoon and
cool condition at night.
On the day of the experiment, preparatory work like adjusting the
space height and controlling the thermal environment would be com-
pleted earlier before the experiment started. For uniformity in clothing
level, the participants were required to wear short sleeves and pants,
which is common summer attire. After the experiment started, parti-
cipants were requested to sit on the chair and do as they like. The first
vote was collected after the participants were in the experimental space
for 30 min, and the next vote was 30 min later. The total number of
votes for each participant for moderate condition, warm condition and
cool condition in every experimental day were 6, 6 and 4, respectively.
During the experiment, participants were not informed what had
been changed between experiments, but most of them still realized
obvious changes like the height of the space. It is noteworthy that there Fig. 1. Comprehensive experiment platform of variable building space at
was a time break between the two air conditioning systems in order to Tianjin University.

C. Cen et al. Building and Environment 141 (2018) 71–79

by the ISO 7330 as the thermal comfort zone, and the proportion of
thermal sensation votes in Experiments 1 to 8 that were within the
comfort zone were 80%, 54%, 93%, 94%, 96%, 95%, 73%, and 84%,

4. Data analysis

4.1. Comparison of thermal comfort with fan coil and radiant floor systems

To compare the advantages and disadvantages for thermal comfort

with the fan coil and radiant floor systems in cooling conditions, the
data for experiments conducted at the same space height were com-
pared. The operative temperature was calculated based on the air
temperature and the average radiant temperature in the laboratory. The
mean operative temperature was calculated at 0.5 °C intervals, and the
mean thermal sensation vote (MTSV) was also obtained (by calculating
Fig. 2. Layout of the experiment rooms (interior space is adjustable). the average TSV for every 0.5 °C operative temperature interval using
weights based on the number of votes in each temperature bin.). The
results are presented in Tables 6–9.
The results shown in the Figs. 6–9 indicate that the average thermal
sensation votes for the same height and operative temperature differs
significantly for the two types of air conditioning systems. At a height of
3 m, the discomfort of participants was greater with the fan coil system
at low temperatures than with the radiant floor system (−3 vs. −1.5,
−2 vs. −1.28, −0.67 vs. −0.04, etc.). However, at operative tem-
peratures greater than 24 °C, participants were more susceptible to the
heat with the radiant floor system (−0.67 vs. 0.48, 0.13 vs. 0.65).
These results were also obtained at a space height of 5 m. According to
Table 7, the thermal sensation vote was closer to 0 (neutral) with the
radiant floor system than with the fan coil system over the entire
temperature range for a space height of 7 m. However, when the space
height was increased to 9 m, the results are the opposite of those ob-
tained for space heights of 3 m and 5 m. In this case, the thermal
Fig. 3. Image of the radiant system. comfort of the radiant floor system at low temperatures is lower than
that of the fan coil system (−0.20 vs. −0.27, −0.1 vs. −0.13), while
the radiant floor system has a thermal comfort advantage at higher
temperatures (0.55 vs. 0.17, 0.40 vs. 0.34, 0.29 vs. 0.18, etc.).
Based on this analysis of the data, the following conclusions can be

1) The fan coil and radiant floor systems have thermal comfort ad-
vantages at different temperature ranges for the same space height.
2) When the space height is lower, thermal comfort is better with the
radiant floor system than the fan coil system at lower temperature
ranges, while the fan coil system has an advantage at higher tem-
3) For higher space heights, the fan coil system provides better thermal
comfort conditions at lower temperature environment, while the
radiant floor system has an advantage at higher temperature en-

Fig. 4. Image of the fan coil system. 4.2. Influence of space height with the fan coil system

Using the average TSV for the fan coil system at each operative
Table 2
temperature and space height from Tables 6–9, a linear regression
Experiment conditions and dates.
analysis was carried out on the average TSV and operating temperature,
Experiment number Date Space size (m) Air conditioning system and the results are shown in Fig. 10. From the established linear
equations and the definition of the neutral temperature, the operative
1 08/26/2017 9×9×3 fan coil system
2 08/27/2017 9×9×5 fan coil system temperature is the neutral temperature when MTSV = 0. The neutral
3 08/29/2017 9×9×7 radiant floor system temperatures for the fan coil system at each space height are listed in
4 08/30/2017 9×9×9 radiant floor system Table 10.
5 09/01/2017 9×9×9 fan coil system
Fig. 10 shows that the thermal neutral temperatures at space heights
6 09/02/2017 9×9×7 fan coil system
7 09/04/2017 9×9×5 radiant floor system of 3, 5, 7 and 9 m are 24.8 °C, 24.2 °C, 23.8 °C, and 23.5 °C, respectively.
8 09/05/2017 9×9×3 radiant floor system As the height of the space increases, the neutral temperature with the
fan coil system gradually decreases. In cooling conditions in the
summer, this means that the participant requirements for the thermal

C. Cen et al. Building and Environment 141 (2018) 71–79

Table 3

Standard deviation
Instrumentation used for measurement of indoor physical parameters.
Parameter Instrument Range Accuracy

Air temperature Testo 425 −20 to 70 °C ± 0.5 °C

Air velocity Testo 425 0–20 m/s ± 0.03 m/s
Air relative humidity HOBO UX100-003 15 %–95% ± 3.5%
Global temperature KIMO TM 200 50–250 °C ± 0.2 °C

environment increase as the space height increases.

Air RH, %
4.3. Influence of space height with the radiant floor system

Using the same data analysis method, the average TSV and opera-
tive temperatures for the radiant floor system are linearly regressed,

Standard deviation
and the results are shown in Fig. 11 and summarized in Table 11. The
thermal neutral temperatures at space heights of 3, 5, 7, and 9 m are
23.5 °C, 23.8 °C, 24.1 °C, and 24.5 °C, respectively. As the height of the
space increases, it is clear that the thermal neutral temperature with the

radiant floor system exhibits an opposite trend to the fan coil system.
The thermal neutral temperature gradually increases with increasing
space height. In the summer cooling condition, the increase of the
neutral temperature means that participants have lower requirements

Air velocity, m/s

0.09 (0.01–0.20)
0.09 (0.03–0.19)
0.03 (0.01–0.15)
0.03 (0.01–0.20)

0.12 (0.03–0.27)
0.03 (0.01–0.10)
0.04 (0.01–0.14)
0.1 (0.1–0.26)
for the thermal environment.
As can be seen, in cooling conditions in summer, lower thermal
neutral temperatures correspond to higher thermal environment re-
quirements of the participants. Based on the trends of thermal neutral
temperature for the two types of air conditioning systems at different
space heights, it can be concluded that fan coil systems are more sui-
table for low-altitude environments while floor radiant systems provide
Standard deviation

better thermal comfort in high-altitude environments.

5. Discussion
Previous studies have investigated the causes of the difference in
thermal comfort for convective and radiant systems. Factors such as
Globe temperature, °C

radiant asymmetry, local discomfort, vertical air temperature gradients,

23.99 (20.80–25.51)
22.76 (19.08–25.79)

25.25 (22.36–27.21)
25.33 (22.47–27.48)
23.69 (22.16–25.56)
22.82 (19.65–25.38)
23.33 (21.39–25.26)
23.3 (21.36–25.35)

and drafts caused by air movement are thought to be the causes of the
difference in thermal comfort between radiant and convection systems.
This study analyzed the causes of the difference in thermal comfort
between a fan coil and radiant floor system at varying spatial heights.

5.1. Air movement

Standard deviation

The experimental thermal environment data in Table 4 indicate that

there is a significant difference in air velocity between the fan coil
system and the radiant floor system. At low temperatures, air flow ex-
acerbates cold sensations, while at high temperatures, air flow relieves

hot sensations. This also explains why the participant thermal sensation
votes were closer to neutral with the fan coil system than the floor
radiant system when the temperature is low.
24.01 (20.91–25.50)
22.84 (19.20–25.82)
23.41 (21.60–25.30)

25.48 (22.60–27.20)
23.55 (22.00–25.20)
22.96 (19.80–25.34)
23.46 (21.70–25.20)
Air temperature, °C

25.3 (22.50–26.90)

5.2. Influence of the acoustic environment on thermal comfort

Thermal parameters (Mean (Min-Max)).

Another disadvantage of fan coil systems is the noise they produce

during operation. In this study, participant satisfaction with the
acoustic environment was surveyed, and the results state that for space
heights of 3, 5, 7, and 9 m, 16%, 23%, 28%, and 35% of the voters,
respectively, were not satisfied with the acoustic environment of the fan
Experiment number

coil system, while 3%, 6%, 3%, and 5%, respectively, were not satisfied
with the radiant floor system. The evaluation of human thermal comfort
is a comprehensive process, the acoustic environment is also a factor
that affects the thermal sensation [36]. The sound pressure level and
Table 4

reverberation time are two important factors for the indoor acoustic

environment [37]. However, for different space heights, the indoor

C. Cen et al. Building and Environment 141 (2018) 71–79

Fig. 5. Information about study participants.

Table 5
Thermal sensation vote.
Experiment number Thermal sensation vote distribution (%)

−3 (cold) −2 (cool) −1 (slightly cool) 0 (neutral) 1 (slightly warm) 2 (warm)

1 146 24 32 24 –
2 20 26 22 23 9 –
3 1 3 8 78 7 3
4 1 5 76 17 1 –
5 – – 4 69 23 4
6 – 3 19 61 14 2
7 9 28 52 20 1 –

Table 6
MTSV for a space of height 3 m at varying operative temperatures.
Space height: 3 m Operative temperature

Experiment 1 20.86 21.43 21.95 22.36 22.80 23.00 23.63 24.21 24.72 25.21 25.50
MTSV −3 −3 −2 −0.67 −1.375 −1 −0.75 −0.67 0.43 0.13 0
Experiment 8 – 21.25 21.89 22.25 22.73 23.02 23.76 24.15 24.63 25.15 –
MTSV – −1.5 −1.28 −1.04 −0.38 −0.31 0.20 0.42 0.86 1.21 –

Table 7
MTSV for a space of height 5 m at varying operative temperatures.
Space height: 5 m Operative temperature

Experiment 2 19.23 19.78 20.12 20.68 21.86 22.37 22.80 23.16 23.82 24.23 24.94
MTSV −2.04 −1.61 −1.38 −1.25 −0.75 −0.60 −0.46 −0.28 −0.15 0.28 0.3
Experiment 7 – 19.87 20.21 20.8 21.69 22.35 22.82 23.18 23.91 24.18 24.94
MTSV – −1.5 −1.35 −1.36 −0.48 −0.88 −0.38 −0.25 0.22 0.16 0.38

Table 8
MTSV for a space of height 7 m at varying operative temperatures.
Space height: 7 m Operative temperature

Experiment 3 20.85 21.45 21.69 22.27 22.73 23.21 23.87 24.31 24.66 25.27
MTSV −0.85 −0.65 −0.45 −0.38 −0.38 −0.43 −0.08 0 0.40 0.52
Experiment 6 20.81 21.42 21.72 22.26 22.81 23.25 23.79 24.32 24.74 25.36
MTSV −0.36 −0.26 −0.26 −0.2 −0.21 −0.11 −0.05 0.05 0.08 0.15

Table 9
MTSV for a space of height 9 m at varying operative temperatures.
Space height: 9 m Operative temperature

Experiment 4 – 22.71 23.23 23.62 24.11 24.31 24.57 25.77 26.27 26.75
MTSV – −0.20 −0.10 0.08 0.15 0.21 0.28 0.35 0.4 0.46
Experiment 5 22.49 22.9 23.17 23.73 24.27 24.32 24.59 25.75 26.30 –
MTSV −0.13 −0.27 −0.13 −0.07 −0.21 0.05 0.06 0.12 0.20 –

C. Cen et al. Building and Environment 141 (2018) 71–79

Fig. 6. Thermal sensation votes at varying operative temperatures for the two Fig. 9. Thermal sensation votes at varying operative temperatures for the two
systems at a height of 3 m. systems at a height of 9 m.

Fig. 7. Thermal sensation votes at varying operative temperatures for the two Fig. 10. Thermal sensation votes at varying operative temperature for the fan
systems at a height of 5 m. coil system at different heights.

Table 10
Neutral temperature for the fan coil system at each space height.
Space Linear equations of MTSV Significance Neutral temperature
height (m) and operative temperature (°C)

3 y = 0.693x - 17.192 0.00* 24.8

R2 = 0.840
5 y = 0.380x – 9.14 0.00* 24.0
R2 = 0.9554
7 y = 0.297x – 7.051 0.00* 23.7
R2 = 0.878
9 y = 0.153x - 3.578 0.00* 23.4
R2 = 0.905

and excessive reverberation time will reduce the intelligibility of the

indoor language and affect the indoor acoustic environment. Dis-
satisfaction with the acoustic environment also increases gradually.
Fig. 8. Thermal sensation votes at varying operative temperature for the two Research has shown that dissatisfaction with the acoustic environment
systems at a height of 7 m. can cause irritability, which can affect the judgment of thermal sensa-
sound pressure level changes very little, meanwhile, the reverberation
time changes greatly. Therefore, the indoor reverberation time was
5.3. Cooling system in large space building
tested for the fan coil system at varying space heights, and the results
are summarized in Table 12. The results indicate that in the presence of
Previous studies on cooling systems in large space found that ra-
a fixed indoor noise source (fan coil), as the volume of the space in-
diant floor cooling can improve both indoor thermal comfort and
creases, the indoor reverberation time also increases, for a normal office
system energy efficiency compared with convective cooling system
environment, the normal reverberation time should be 1.0 s (500 Hz),
[38]. By absorbing the shortwave radiation, the radiant floor reduces

C. Cen et al. Building and Environment 141 (2018) 71–79

will further explore the relationship between thermal comfort and

spatial dimensions.

6. Conclusion

In this study, the effect of spatial height on thermal comfort with a

fan coil system and a radiant floor system was studied experimentally
by measuring the thermal environment parameters in a laboratory
while obtaining responses to a thermal comfort questionnaire. By
comparing the average thermal sensation vote for these two types of air
conditioning systems at the same operative temperature and space
height, the advantages and disadvantages of the two types of systems
with regard to thermal comfort in each temperature range were ob-
tained. The effect of the space height on thermal comfort for the two
types of systems was determined by comparing the thermal neutral
temperatures of the fan coil system and the floor radiant system at
varying space heights, and analyzing the causes for the differences in
thermal comfort between the two types of systems at different ceiling
Fig. 11. Thermal sensation votes at varying operative temperature for the
Radiant Floor System at different height. heights. The conclusions drawn from this study are as follows:

1) In cooling conditions in summer, it was found that the thermal

Table 11 comfort and operative temperature for spaces of the same height
Neutral temperature for the radiant floor system at each space height.
differs significantly for fan coil system and the radiant floor system.
Space height Linear equations of MTSV Significance Neutral temperature 2) The neutral temperature decreased gradually with increasing space
(m) and operative temperature (°C) height for the fan coil system, whereas the neutral temperature in-
3 y = 0.722x – 16.97 0.00* 23.5
creased with increasing space height for the radiant floor system.
R2 = 0.981
5 y = 0.389x – 9.267 0.00* 23.8 Therefore, fan coil systems are more suitable for low space height
R2 = 0.984 environments, while radiant floor systems provide better thermal
7 y = 0.111x - 2.665 0.00* 24.1
comfort in high space height environments.
R2 = 0.972
9 y = 0.103x - 2.542 0.004* 24.6
R2 = 0.718 Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Zhang Jiarong, Li Dongyao, Chen

Table 12 Yuqi, Wang Qingchen and all the volunteers from the School of
Reverberation time with the fan coil system at each space height. International Engineering at Tianjin University for assisting with the
Space height (m) Reverberation time (s) experiment. This research is financially supported by the National
Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 51708400) and the National
125 Hz 250 Hz 500 Hz 1000 Hz 2000 Hz 4000 Hz Natural Science Foundation of Tianjin (No. 17JCQNJC07400).
3 1.15 1.64 2.27 2.54 1.80 0.92
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