On the understanding of the mean radiant temperature within both the indoor and outdoor environment, a critical review

Hongshan Guo, Dorit Aviv, Mauricio Loyola, Eric Teitelbaum, Nicholas Houchois, Forrest Meggers

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

100 Scopus citations


Mean radiant temperature is central to our understanding of the radiant heat exchange between the human body and surrounding environment. This paper will present a review of the concept's evolution including its qualitative definition, methods of quantitative evaluation and corresponding challenges. In the process, this review suggests that more effort needs to be invested in addressing the geometric complexities of radiant heat transfer in research into MRT; the ASHRAE definition is broad and is liable to simplification, and research which uses the definition relies on a variety of simplifications, often without acknowledging the degree of geometric complexity which exists in reality. Existing means of obtaining an estimate of mean radiant temperature range from direct measurements using globe thermometers or net radiometers, to computational simulations, and are widely used for studies within indoor and outdoor environments. Previous literature studying the correlation between air temperature and MRT has found equivalence ratios, the relative importance of convection to radiation, ranging from 0.71 to 1.4, however, it is often assumed to be 1.0 in current research practices. We also identified a rapid increase in the usage of MRT in biometeorological studies during the last ten years on top of the increased usage in indoor environment sensing and modeling in light of recent developments in heating and cooling systems. Recent efforts to include the short-wave component in indoor MRT characterization have shown an increase in cooling capacity of radiant floors from 32 to 110 W/m2; significantly decreasing peak energy demand.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109207
JournalRenewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
StatePublished - Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Globe thermometer
  • Human biometeorology
  • Net radiometer
  • Thermal comfort
  • mean radiant temperature


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