Investigation into sensitivities of factors in outdoor thermal comfort indices

Zhaosong Fang, Zhang Lin, Cheuk Ming Mak, Jianlei Niu, Kam Tim Tse

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

100 Citations (Scopus)


With the development of the urban city, increasing attention has been paid to outdoor thermal comfort. In this paper, an analysis of the sensitivities of different factors, including the personal factors and physical parameters of the thermal environment was conducted. The results showed that there was a strong linear relationship between the Physiological Equivalent Temperature (PET) and operation temperature. When the operation temperature was lower than 32 °C, the effect of air velocity on the PET was positive. However, the effects of other factors, including relative humidity, clothing insulation, and metabolic rate, on the PET were insignificant. An exponential relationship was found between the UTCI and the operation temperature. The effect of air velocity change on the UTCI became weaker and weaker with the increase of operation temperature. Compared with the PET, the linear relationship between the UTCI and relative humidity was clearer. A field survey of thermal comfort carried out in Guangzhou University was used for the validation of the thermal comfort models. It was observed that the clothing insulation requirement increased with the decrease of air temperature in autumn. The variations in metabolic rate were also obvious, from 1met to 3.8 met. More than 70% of the people had been walking before they arrived at the survey locations. In addition, there were some differences in the neutral PET and UTCI temperature between the metabolic rates of 1.0–2.0 met and of 2.6 met. Meanwhile, models of MTSV against the PET and UTCI under different metabolic rates were established.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-142
Number of pages14
JournalBuilding and Environment
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2018


  • Clothing insulation
  • Metabolic rate
  • Outdoor thermal environment
  • PET and UTCI
  • Thermal sensation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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