Development of a smartphone application to assess thermal comfort

The Foundation is supporting the University of Colorado in seeking to develop an evaluation and feedback tool 

United Sates of America

In partnership with the University of Colorado Denver, the Rexel Foundation is providing funding for research seeking to develop a thermal comfort metric for commercial buildings. The aim of the research is to create a new method to evaluate thermal comfort of building occupants, based on existing sensors and smartphone technology, and to provide feedback to building owners and operators for improving building energy performance.



  • Through data collection from app users (behavior, location, environmental data), the application will allow owners and builders to operate and decide with better energy efficiency.
  • The aim is to better understand and be aware of the optimum thermal comfort of building occupants.



This research aims to develop software prototype tools in form of mobile apps to motivate new behavior-based research opportunities regarding occupant behavior, building performance, and energy efficiency. The primary technical contribution is to model human comfort on the building level based on actual occupant usage, which will, in the future, enable researchers to identify and target energy efficiency measures that optimize energy usage according to comfort.



Building occupants will use a smartphone application to report their level of thermal comfort in each room over a period of time. This reported feedback will be collected through the active and passive use of smartphones to determine occupant positioning, activity and clothing levels, and perceived comfort. These indoor environmental conditions will be collected through the use of various building sensors over a period of time. And the gathered data from building occupants and sensors will be integrated to develop a metric for evaluating thermal comfort of building occupants.


Expected results

The smartphone application will help owners make informed decisions and will supply data for further research (human behavior, building performance, energy efficiency studies).

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