Sleeping pods with radiant cooling panels: A first assessment of thermal comfort and cooling capacity

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Mechanical Engineering Department

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Document Type

Research Article

Publication Title

Energy and Buildings

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Sleeping pods are special confined enclosures used as quiet spaces for short naps (e.g., in libraries and airports) or as cheap accommodations in metropolitan cities. This study aims to analyze the thermal environment in such pods when operating with radiant cooling panels, as potential energy saving (high-temperature cooling) systems, using a validated computational model. The results show that the pod can be maintained at category A (predicted percent dissatisfied of nearly 5%) by maintaining a high supply air temperature (25 °C), a relatively high panel temperature (19 °C), and using an untreated panel surface (emissivity of 0.7). Most of the considered operational settings showed no signs of local thermal discomfort, where the draft risk is below 10%, the radiant temperature asymmetry is lower than 10 °C, and all pod surfaces are safely touchable. Besides, no condensation risks are encountered. The cooling capacity of the panel ranges between 24.4 and 65.65 W/m2 and the radiation heat share ranges between 23.2 and 41.0%. The cooling capacity was found to increase by decreasing the panel's temperature, increasing the panel's emissivity, and increasing the supply air temperature. When switched on, the internal heat dissipation appliances increased the operative temperature by 2.6%, decreased the draft risk by 11.6%, and increased the cooling capacity by 13.9%, but the pod's environment only moved from category A to the beginning of category B.

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