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Indoor summer comfort: a study into the practical useability of sustainable cooling systems

Panel: 8. Buildings: technologies and systems beyond energy efficiency

This is a peer-reviewed paper.

Thomas Wuyts, Thomas More, Belgium
Griet Janssen, KCE (Kenniscentrum Energie), Thomas More University of Applied Sciences, Belgium
Jeroen Van Der Veken, bbri, Belgium
Margot De Pauw, KCE (Kenniscentrum Energie), Thomas More University of Applied Sciences, Belgium


To accelerate the acceptance of so called ‘sustainable cooling systems’ and to ensure large scale rollout in residential buildings, a more profound insight is needed into their performance and the provided level of comfort. This article presents and evaluates the performance of different sustainable cooling systems within an (evolving) Western European climate and setting: a set of five typical residential buildings – meeting all the current energy standards – was examined within a newly developed dynamic building simulation packet.

A parameter study varying insulation, thermal capacity and orientation of each building confirms that, despite lower specific cooling power, most examined systems can provide sufficient comfort when combined with passive anti-heating measures. A user-friendly decision support tool for the selection of sustainable cooling systems in residential buildings was further elaborated from this simulation-packet. To facilitate the overall assessment of thermal summer comfort in residential buildings in a rapidly changing climate and to provide this new decision support tool with an intuitive and easy to use color-coded interface, this paper studies the different applicable comfort standards and proposes an updated method to define four different comfort levels.

The computer model inputs were supplemented by a series of ‘in situ’ measurements made during the summer of 2019 and 2020 in several residential buildings, located in Belgium. Several ‘hydronic’ delivery systems – coupled to a heat pump system with free cooling abilities – and adiabatic cooling were monitored. These results were also used to verify simulation output results.

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Download this paper as pdf: 8-180-21_Wuyts.pdf

Download this presentation as pdf: 8-180-21_De-Pauw_slides_pres.pdf