This paper presents the energy performance of a personalized ventilation (PV) system with individual control of airflow rate in a hot and humid climate. A set of experiments with 46 tropically acclimatized subjects were conducted with ambient temperatures of 23 and 26 °C and PV air temperatures of 20, 23 and 26 °C. It has been found that as the ambient temperature is increased, subjects prefer higher PV airflow rates. While the higher ambient temperature reduces the cooling load, this is partly offset by the increased ventilation load. Therefore, it is not straightforward to quantify the energy savings accurately. In this work, an EnergyPlus simulation model was developed and validated by measurement data. The model was normalized to take into account the effects of the variations of outdoor conditions and the number of occupants. It was then applied to evaluate the energy performance of the PV system. The results show that when the PV air temperature is kept at 20 °C, the energy consumption at an ambient temperature of 23 °C is 10.8% higher than that at 26 °C. The best results are obtained when the PV air temperature is 20 °C and the ambient temperature is 26 °C. It is therefore concluded that increasing the ambient temperature has good potential to reduce energy consumption, whereas increasing the PV temperature does not bring appreciable benefits. © 2015 Published by Elsevier Ltd.