Can we develop clothing that regulates body temperature?
Maintaining body temperature within a comfortable range is essential and failure to do so can lead to thermal discomfort or even sickness. Acting as the interface between the human body and ambient temperature, clothing plays an indispensable role in achieving this goal. However, the considerable room for improvement of contemporary clothing becomes evident when considering that a building's heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems account for over 50% of total building energy use. In fact, it is estimated that the availability of thermoregulatory clothing that would allow a decrease of the building’s heating set point by 2°C or an increase of its cooling set point by 2°C, would lead to about 12.5% heating or 17.5% cooling building energy savings, respectively. Although multiple strategies to develop thermoregulatory clothing have already been pursued, there is currently no temperature-adaptive clothing that can efficiently regulate body temperature without external energy input.