Operative temperature controller with smart learning algorithm

Comfostat aims to investigate a new measurement and control methodology for smart thermostat technology. The project will provide better environmental quality for occupants via controlling the heating/cooling operation by operative temperature based thermostats with smart learning algorithm.

Energy efficiency and thermal comfort are major factors driving the growth of the global smart thermostats market. The technology helps in reduction of energy bills as well as saving energy via providing better indoor environmental conditions. In Europe, smart business owners are increasingly adopting the smart thermostats for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems to manage their power consumption. Advancement in technology has provided the customers with different types of smart thermostats depending upon their needs. HVAC control systems use air-temperature-based thermostats to control thermal comfort, but these control devices are inadequate to measure real human thermal comfort. This affects users' comfort negatively; meanwhile HVAC systems cannot work at optimum value. To provide occupants better comfort, measurements should analyze how human body feels like, so that the devices would be in analogy with human thermo-receptors. Thus, operative temperature is needed to be taken into account in order to provide better conditions to occupants. Operative temperature measurement equipment is mainly used in test chambers and academic research works. However, there is not any simple product in the market that fills the aforementioned characteristics. In fact, existing devices are not applicable for commercial usage because of their high costs and inappropriate sizes. The project aims to develop a simplified, plug and play, novel product which consists of an operative temperature thermostat (based on human thermal feeling), smart controller, gateway (external communication) and software for the thermal comfort-based concept. Current smart thermostat technology deals only with controlling heating and cooling systems with respect to the air temperature. The main challenge of this project is the development of a product to control HVAC systems taking operative temperature into account. The new thermostat will have a sensing mechanism which consists of a miniature manikin which senses the human thermal feelings. The manikin sensor will simulate human circulatory system and will also simulate the energy generation of the human body. This well-estimated method has been carried out by many researchers; however the first commercial implementation of this method will be developed in this project. Empirical models will be developed based on experimental studies. Within the sensor, the clothing factor and humidity are also taken into account. Apart from the hardware sensor, the other components of the system such as controller, user interface, software and gateway are going to be developed during the project. Advanced decision-making techniques (such as fuzzy logic, artificial neural network algorithms and/or rule-based mechanisms) will govern the smart learning software to be used inside the controller with the objective of decreasing the energy consumption taking into consideration the comfort levels and behavioural parameters. The controller will also consider the users' needs which are gathered from small surveys that will be automatically recognized by the system and, as result, will provide suggestion to increase the users' awareness on energy savings and comfort measures. The software will also show energy savings and bill reductions to the users. Moreover, the gateway will provide the Internet access to the smart thermostat. This will allow the costumer to control their HVAC system from anywhere via the web platform. With our project idea, system will also split the radiant and convective heat transfer capacities. The final product will be designed aesthetically to be able to use in both residential and commercial scale. Functionality, ergonomic, low-carbon foot print will be considered during the industrial design phase too.
Project ID: 
10 706
Start date: 
Project Duration: 
Project costs: 
960 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Sensor Technology related to measurements
Market Area: 

Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.