Impact of adaptive thermal comfort criteria on building energy use and cooling equipment size using a multi-objective optimization scheme

Mohamed Hamdy, Ala Hasan, Kai Siren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

61 Citations (Scopus)


Recently adaptive thermal-comfort criteria have been introduced in the international indoor-climate standards to reduce the heating/cooling energy requirements. In 2008, the Finnish Society of Indoor Air Quality (FiSIAQ) developed the national adaptive thermal-comfort criteria of Finland. The current study evaluates the impact of the Finnish Criteria on energy performance in an office building. Two fully mechanically air-conditioned single offices are taken as representative zones. A simulation-based optimization scheme (a combination of IDA-ICE 4.0 and a multi-objective genetic-algorithm from MATLAB-2008a) is employed to determine the minimum primary energy use and the minimum room cooling-equipment size required for different thermal comfort levels. The applicability of implementing energy-saving measures such as night ventilation, night set-back temperature, day lighting as well as optimal building envelope and optimal HVAC settings are addressed by investigating 24 design variables. The results show that, on average, an additional 10 kWh/(m2 a) primary energy demand and a larger 10 W/m2 room cooling-equipment size are required to improve the thermal comfort from medium (S2) to high-quality (S1) class; higher thermal comfort levels limit the use of night ventilation and water radiator night-set back options. Compared with the ISO EN 7730-2005 standard, the Finnish criterion could slightly decrease the heating/cooling equipment size. However, it significantly increases both the heating and cooling energy demand; the results show 32.8% increase in the primary energy demand. It is concluded that the Finnish criterion-2008 is strict and does not allow for energy-efficient solutions in standard office buildings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2055-2067
Number of pages13
JournalEnergy and Buildings
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2011
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Adaptive approach
  • Cooling equipment size
  • Multi-objective optimization
  • Primary energy
  • Simulation
  • Thermal comfort


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