Human body exergy consumption models’ evaluation and their sensitivities towards different environmental conditions

Hongshan Guo, Yongqiang Luo, Forrest Meggers, Marco Simonetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


We can use the concept of exergy to analyze a human body as a heat emitter: while generating heat continuously, the body remains at roughly the same temperature through physiological responses such as shivering, sweating, breathing thus raising/decreasing the core and/or skin temperature to maintain effective heat dissipation. Existing literature provides an estimated exergy consumption rate of the human body ranging from 2 to 5W/m2, while nearly unanimously agreeing on a local exergy consumption minima points to potential individual thermal comfort. To clarify the underlying assumptions used in the existing human body exergy models, we analytically and numerically reviewed the terms used for assessing metabolism, radiation, evaporation, and convection exergy changes of the human body in this paper. We observed overestimations of exergy from metabolism, underestimations of exergy change through radiation, and some caveats in the signage of convective exergy losses in the results we obtained. We were also able to propose an improved expression to estimate human body radiation exergy exchanges as well as selecting reference temperatures that are more process-specific. Future studies that provide experimental verification of these models were also deemed necessary.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1075-1088
Number of pages14
StatePublished - Sep 15 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • General Energy
  • Pollution
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Fuel Technology
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Modeling and Simulation


  • Entropy analysis
  • Exergy analysis
  • Radiant heat transfer
  • Reference temperature
  • Thermal comfort


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