A numerical study on evaluating sleeping thermal comfort using a Chinese-Kang based space heating system

Guanyu Fang, Shiming Deng, Xuefeng Liu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Sleeping is an important human activity and heating system is needed for a comfort sleeping thermal environment in winter. By combining the merits from both an air source heat pump (ASHP) and a Chinese-Kang heating system, a prototype bed-based ASHP (B-ASHP) system has been proposed, and several design/operating parameters were experimentally and numerically studied previously. A numerical study using a digital thermal manikin (DTM) on the impacts of four influencing factors, i.e., operating mode, bed surface temperature (tbed), thermal resistance of mattress (Rmat), and thermal resistance of quilt (Rq) on sleeping thermal comfort was carried out, and the study results are reported in this paper. The numerical study results suggested that firstly, to maintain a suitable sleeping thermal environment, the use of only the Horizontal section (H-Section) of the bed-based heating terminal of the B-ASHP system was adequate; however using the Horizontal and Vertical section (H + V-Section) could minimize the temperature difference between the micro-climate close to the bed and outside environment, although with a higher energy consumption. Secondly, tbed of the bed-based terminal should be carefully selected, and a tbed of 44 °C could both meet the requirement of thermal comfort and acceptable operating efficiency of the B-ASHP system. Thirdly, the use of a mattress would reduce the heat transfer from the bed-based terminal to a sleeping person and indoor space, however an excessively higher Rmat of mattress would reduce the heating capacity and operating efficiency, leading to a cold sleeping environment. Finally, the use of a quilt would help prevent the heat loss from a sleeping person, thereby maintaining a warmer sleeping thermal environment, however a higher-than-necessary Rq of quilt would decrease the sleeping thermal comfort.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111174
JournalEnergy and Buildings
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2021


  • Air source heat pump
  • Chinese-Kang heating system
  • Sleeping thermal comfort
  • Sleeping thermal environment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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