Thermoelectric air conditioning undergarment for personal thermal management and HVAC energy saving

Lun Lou, Dahua Shou, Huiju Park, Dongliang Zhao, Yuen Shing Wu, Xiaonan Hui, Ronggui Yang, Edwin Chihchuan Kan, Jintu Fan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

63 Citations (Scopus)


Personal thermal management systems (PTMS) are highly desirable for improving individual thermal comfort and reducing indoor HVAC energy consumption. Although there have been many attempts in developing PTMS, existing PTMS are generally bulky, heavy or immobile. Besides, previous analysis on additional personal cooling and heating power required for maintaining thermal comfort in changing environments did not consider the individual difference in metabolism and the variability of comfort skin temperature with environmental conditions. Here, we report on the development of a novel lightweight (<1 kg) thermoelectric air conditioning undergarment system with a preferred design of branching tubing network (branching angle of 60° and diameter ratio of 0.782) for air distribution. Through thermal manikin and human subject tests, we demonstrated that the novel system is capable of providing a maximum of 15.5 W of personal cooling and 18.1 W personal heating with a coefficient of performance (COP) greater than 0.4, which is sufficient to the expansion of the indoor set-points by at least 2.2 °C (4 °F) on both sides without compromising thermal comfort and the potential saving of about 15% HVAC energy. Furthermore, our study improved the understanding of the required additional personal cooling and heating power for changing environmental conditions, which are essential guidelines for the further development of PTMS.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110374
JournalEnergy and Buildings
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2020


  • HVAC energy saving
  • Murray's law
  • Overall thermal evaluation
  • Personal cooling and heating garment
  • Pipe air flow
  • Thermoelectrics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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