Energy Efficient Personal Thermal Comfort Chair for Commercial Workspaces, Auditoriums and Vehicles

Tech ID: 22964 / UC Case 2013-075-0

Patent Status

Country Type Number Dated Case
United States Of America Issued Patent 9,833,077 12/05/2017 2013-075
United States Of America Issued Patent 9,155,398 10/13/2015 2013-075

Brief Description

Thermal discomfort is a prevalent complaint from occupants in shared workspaces and public buildings. Personal comfort systems (PCS) create local environments for individuals that are perceived as comfortable across a broad range of ambient space. Implementing PCS systems in a building can save up to 30% of an average building’s total HVAC energy. As building owners and residential consumers become more aware of the potential energy bill savings of individual room thermal systems, spot heating and cooling is increasingly relied upon.


Berkeley researchers have taken this further by developing a rechargeable chair, which consists of mesh seating coverage, reflective surfaces, air plenum chambers and spot heating functionality. The technology exploits the concept of alliesthesia operating spatially across the skin surface. Localized resistance heating is woven into the mesh fabric in key contact areas in the seat and back. Radiant heat loss from the body to the environment is redirected to conserve energy. Cooling of the body is achieved by increasing convective heat and moisture exchange across the underside and backside surfaces of the mesh. This contrasts sharply with traditional ventilation approaches that pushes or pulls air through the seat surface. Comfort conditions can be maintained for individual users occupying the same space between 60.5 and 82.5 F. The battery-powered chair has a 4-day operation capacity and switches off when unoccupied.


Case 13075 image


Suggested uses

  • Commercial offices, hospitals and schools
  • Conference and concert venues
  • Automobile seating
  • Home personal comfort and energy efficiency systems
  • Secondary applications – seating for commercial airplanes, heaving machine operators, military



  •  Ability to create user-adjustable local thermal environments for individuals in close proximity
  • Convective cooling produces superior comfort effect without local cold spots on the skin
  • Uses less energy for heating and cooling than comparable systems, energy consumption: 11 W heating, 3.5 W cooling
  • System has less pressure drop than conventional ventilated seats, resulting in more efficiency
  • Ease of deployment, cost savings and quietness compared to building thermal/AC systems and stand-alone heaters/fans


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  • Arens, Edward A.
  • Pasut, Wilmer
  • Zhang, Hui

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