Test rooms to study human comfort in buildings: A review of controlled experiments and facilities

A. L. Pisello, I. Pigliautile, M. Andargie, C. Berger, P. M. Bluyssen, S. Carlucci, G. Chinazzo, Z. Deme Belafi, B. Dong, M. Favero, A. Ghahramani, G. Havenith, A. Heydarian, D. Kastner, M. Kong, D. Licina, Y. Liu, A. Luna-Navarro, A. Mahdavi, A. NocenteM. Schweiker, M. Touchie, M. Vellei, F. Vittori, A. Wagner, A. Wang, S. Wei

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Occupants’ comfort perception affects building energy consumptions. To improve the understanding of human comfort, which is crucial to reduce energy demand, laboratory experiments with humans in controlled environments (test rooms) are fundamental, but their potential also depends on the characteristic of each research facility. Nowadays, there is no common understanding for definitions, concepts, and procedures related to human comfort studies performed in test rooms. Identifying common features would allow standardising test procedures, reproducing the same experiments in different contexts, and sharing knowledge and test possibilities. This review identifies 187 existing test rooms worldwide: 396 papers were systematically selected, thoroughly reviewed, and analysed in terms of performed experiments and related test room details. The review highlights a rising interest in the topic during the last years, since 46% of related papers has been published between 2016 and 2020. A growing interest in non-thermal sensory domains (such as visual and air quality) and multi-domain studies about occupant's whole comfort emerged from the results. These research trends have entailed a change in the way test rooms are designed, equipped and controlled, progressively becoming more realistic inhabitable environments. Nevertheless, some lacks in comfort investigation are highlighted: some continents (like Africa and South America) and climate zones are found to be underrepresented, while involved subjects are mainly students performing office tasks. This review aspires to guide scientists and professionals toward the improved design or the audit of test room experimental facilities, especially in countries and climate zones where human comfort indoors is under-studied.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number111359
JournalRenewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • Acoustic comfort
  • Climate chamber
  • Energy performance
  • Human comfort
  • Human-centric experiments
  • Indoor air quality
  • Indoor environmental quality
  • Laboratory
  • Multi-domain comfort
  • Test room
  • Thermal comfort
  • Visual comfort

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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