Clothing Insulation Required for Energy Efficiency (IREQee) and Thermal Comfort

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingPaper in conference proceedingpeer-review


Thermal comfort has direction implications for energy efficiency and sustainable development. From a global perspective, about 40% of total primary energy is used in buildings, contributing to more than 30% of CO2 emissions [1]. The fact that the common practices of clothing choices have impact on energy efficiency is ignored [2-3]. This paper analyzed and proposed clothing insulation required for energy efficiency (IREQee) in order to increase indoor temperature interval and energy efficiency.

In many heated/air-conditioned indoor environments, it is not unusual that occupants wear T-shirts/suits. The basic clothing insulation of these clothing ensembles is estimated to be about 0.5/1.0 clo [4]. The benefit of adding/reducing clothing insulation in heated/cooled environments, e.g. change clothing between 1.2 and 0.4 clo, is that the temperature of the whole room or building can be changed by 5.1 °C (between 20.4 and 25.5 °C) while still maintaining thermal comfort (Fig. 1) calculated according to international standard [5] and related web based tool [6], given that other parameters are the same (metabolic rate M=70 W/m2, relative humidity=50%, mean radiant temperature=air temperature, mechanic work=0, relative air velocity (m/s)=0.0052*(M-58)). As a result, the energy for heating/cooling the indoor environment is saved. The saved energy is about 10% for each degree Celsius decrease or increase in heated or air-conditioned indoor air temperature [7]. Hence, informed occupant’s clothing behavior change based on IREQee can extend the interval of comfort temperature, e.g. from 18.6 to 26.1 °C (rather than a fixed set point at 22 or 23 °C) for office work in heated and air-conditioned environments. The analysis indicates that the proposed IREQee in relation to physical work intensity can function as a low cost measure to maintain thermal comfort, save energy, and enhance sustainable development.

Figure 1. Required clothing insulation for energy efficiency (IREQee) and comfortable temperature in heated or air-conditioned indoor environments in relation to physical work intensity (metabolic rate: M=70 and 100 W/m2 corresponding to office work and low physical intensity work).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 11th International Meeting on Thermal Manikin and Modeling(11i3m)
EditorsFaming Wang, Ming Fu
Place of PublicationChina
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Oct 12

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Textile, Rubber and Polymeric Materials


  • thermal comfort
  • energy efficiency
  • clothing insulation
  • IREQ


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