In the interactive VR simulation environment, the progression of the indoor climate over the time is calculated in real time using a Modelica room model. The user can interactively influence the room model, e.g. by opening a window to ventilate the room. The simulated indoor climate is reproduced in the climate chamber with a set of devices (heaters, air conditioners, fans, humidifiers, etc.), which are controlled by the event-based openHAB software. In the first development stage of the VR climate chamber, the parameters air temperature, air humidity and air flow through room openings were made physically tangible for the user.

Overall system of the VR simulation environment, consisting of a climate chamber, a thermal building model (Modelica) and a virtual interactive room model (Unity) (Source: UdK Berlin)

In the second development stage, the VR simulation environment was extended for the user to include the perception of directed heat radiation through a large number of individually controllable radiant surfaces. Heat radiation influence the indoor climate in many different ways: these include smaller, higher temperature radiant surfaces such as wall radiators or larger radiation surfaces that are only slightly warmer or colder such as underfloor, wall heating systems or cooling ceilings, as well as the opaque and transparent interior surfaces of exterior components with low thermal insulation, which therefore follow the outside climate and deviate noticeably from the room air temperature.

The following video explains the concept of the interactive Virtual Reality simulation environment in detail: