Assessing occupant comfort in historic churches when using localised heating systems

Robin Talbot, Arman Hashemi, Marco Picco, Philip Ashton

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNConference contribution with ISSN or ISBNpeer-review


Several church organisations have committed to net-zero by 2030. Guidance to churches has been to heat the occupants rather than the building. Evidence shows a combination of background low grade heat with radiant systems may achieve more acceptable comfort. A model of St Mary de Haura church was created using Design Builder. A gas fired boiler and radiator system was set to either 14oC or 20oC. Energy consumption from each local system was calculated. In some scenarios PMV resulted in close to zero, where most would experience neutral comfort. Heated cushions and pew mounted radiant panels could improve PMV to -0.5, even with 14oC background heating. Similar results were obtained using environmental data from the actual church. This increase in comfort opens up the potential to use alternative heating systems such as heat pumps for background heating. Such choices are aligned with UK Government ambitions for decarbonising heating.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of Building Simulation 2023
Subtitle of host publication18th Conference of IBPSA
PublisherInternational Building Performance Simulation Association
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9781775052036
Publication statusPublished - 6 Sept 2023
EventIBPSA International Conference and Exhibition, Building Simulation 2023 - Shanghai, China, China
Duration: 4 Sept 20236 Sept 2023
Conference number: 18 (Proceedings website)


ConferenceIBPSA International Conference and Exhibition, Building Simulation 2023
Abbreviated titleBS2023
CityShanghai, China
OtherThe bi-annual international IBPSA Building Simulation Conference and Exhibition is the premier international event in the field of building performance simulation
Internet address


  • Comfort
  • PMV
  • Historic churches
  • Simulation
  • Net zero


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