Evaluation of a multi-nodal thermal regulation model for assessment of outdoor thermal comfort: Sensitivity to wind speed and solar radiation

Yongxin Xie, Taiyang Huang, Jianong Li, Jianlin Liu, Jianlei Niu, Cheuk Ming Mak, Zhang Lin

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)


People's outdoor thermal sensation varies from that indoors. The highly asymmetric solar radiation and transient wind environment are the main causes. The University of California-Berkeley developed a multi-nodal human body thermal regulation model (the UCB model) to predict human thermal sensation and comfort in asymmetric and transient indoor environments. However, few studies compared its predictions with the survey responses outdoors. In this study, subjects’ thermal sensations outdoors were surveyed and compared with the UCB model predictions. Meteorological parameters were monitored using a microclimate station, and over a thousand human subjects were surveyed. Results point out that subjects were highly sensitive to the changes in wind speed, especially under low-radiation conditions. However, the UCB model failed to predict such a high sensitivity. Besides, subjects had a higher tolerance to high air temperatures in outdoor environments when the solar radiation was acceptable, but the UCB model over-predicted the TSV (thermal sensation vote) in such conditions. Both the on-site results and the predictions by UCB model showed that subjects were more sensitive to wind speed in hotter environments while they were least sensitive to solar radiation in neutral thermal conditions. This study helps to reveal the potential of a multi-nodal thermal regulation model to address the asymmetric and transient features of outdoor environments and indicates the need to further refine the model for better quantitative prediction of outdoor thermal sensations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-56
Number of pages12
JournalBuilding and Environment
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2018


  • Microclimatic parameters
  • Outdoor thermal comfort
  • Sensitivity
  • Validation of thermal comfort index

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Building and Construction


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