International Journal of Thermophysics

, Volume 36, Issue 8, pp 2124–2149 | Cite as

Uncertainty Analysis of Thermal Comfort Parameters

  • A. Silva Ribeiro
  • J. Alves e Sousa
  • Maurice G. Cox
  • Alistair B. Forbes
  • L. Cordeiro Matias
  • L. Lages Martins


International Standard ISO 7730:2005 defines thermal comfort as that condition of mind that expresses the degree of satisfaction with the thermal environment. Although this definition is inevitably subjective, the Standard gives formulae for two thermal comfort indices, predicted mean vote (PMV) and predicted percentage dissatisfied (PPD). The PMV formula is based on principles of heat balance and experimental data collected in a controlled climate chamber under steady-state conditions. The PPD formula depends only on PMV. Although these formulae are widely recognized and adopted, little has been done to establish measurement uncertainties associated with their use, bearing in mind that the formulae depend on measured values and tabulated values given to limited numerical accuracy. Knowledge of these uncertainties are invaluable when values provided by the formulae are used in making decisions in various health and civil engineering situations. This paper examines these formulae, giving a general mechanism for evaluating the uncertainties associated with values of the quantities on which the formulae depend. Further, consideration is given to the propagation of these uncertainties through the formulae to provide uncertainties associated with the values obtained for the indices. Current international guidance on uncertainty evaluation is utilized.


Thermal comfort Uncertainty evaluation GUM  GUM supplement 1 Monte Carlo method 



The National Measurement Office, an Executive Agency of the UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, supported the work of the NPL authors through the Mathematics and Modelling for Metrology programme. Financial support of FCT (Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology) in the context of Project Ref. Pest OE/MAT/UI0219/2014, and Project VALIMED, under the Madeira Regional Programme “Intervir+”, is grateful acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Silva Ribeiro
    • 1
  • J. Alves e Sousa
    • 2
  • Maurice G. Cox
    • 3
  • Alistair B. Forbes
    • 3
  • L. Cordeiro Matias
    • 1
  • L. Lages Martins
    • 1
  1. 1.National Laboratory for Civil EngineeringLisbonPortugal
  2. 2.Madeira Regional Laboratory for Civil EngineeringFunchalPortugal
  3. 3.National Physical LaboratoryTeddingtonUK

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