A Review of Thermally Activated Building Systems (TABS) as an Alternative for Improving the Indoor Environment of Buildings

María M. Villar-Ramos, Iván Hernández-Pérez*, Karla M. Aguilar-Castro, Ivett Zavala-Guillén, Edgar V. Macias-Melo, Irving Hernández-López, Juan Serrano-Arellano

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Among the alternatives for improving the thermal comfort conditions inside buildings are the thermally activated building systems (TABS). They are embedded in different building components to improve the indoor air temperature. In this work, a review and analysis of the state of the art of TABS was carried out to identify their potential to improve thermal comfort conditions and provide energy savings. Furthermore, this study presents the gaps identified in the literature so that researchers can develop future studies on TABS. The articles found were classified and analyzed in four sections, considering their implementation in roofs, walls, floors, and the whole envelope. In addition, aspects related to the configuration of the TABS and the fluid (speed, temperature, and mass flow rate) were analyzed. It was found that when TABS are implemented in roofs, walls, and floors, a reduction in the indoor temperature of a building of up to 14.4 °C can be obtained. Within the limitations of the TABS, the complexity and costs of their implementation compared to the use of air conditioning systems are reported. However, the TABS can provide energy savings of up to 50%.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6179
Issue number17
StatePublished - Sep 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The first author acknowledges the grant provided by the National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT-México).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors.


  • energy savings
  • heat exchanger pipes
  • radiant envelope
  • thermal comfort
  • thermal mass
  • thermally activated building systems


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