Comfort temperature and preferred adaptive behaviour in various classroom types in the UK higher learning environments

Jowkar M., Rijal H.B., Brusey J., Montazami A., Carlucci S. and Lansdown T.C. , Energy and Buildings ,211(2020)

Maintaining the thermal comfort of occupants along with minimising the related energy consumption is necessary in educational buildings in the UK. Thermal comfort is particularly important in this context as it affects how well students learn in the classroom. This study aims to identify comfort temperature ranges in different classroom types, lecture rooms, studios and PC labs in UK higher learning environments. Overall, more than 3,000 university students in Coventry and Edinburgh were observed and surveyed simultaneously with the monitoring of environmental measurements under free-running, cooling and heating modes, in October and November 2017 and January to March 2018. Thermal comfort zones and comfort temperatures were identified in each classroom type under these three operation modes. The thermal comfort zone was shown to be significantly dependant on the operative temperature in the studios and PC labs. In terms of the students’ priorities for adaptive behaviour inside the classrooms, students in the lecture rooms and PC labs with lower levels of freedom, preferred to restore their thermal comfort through personal adaptive behaviour. However, environmental behaviour was shown to be preferred in the studios where the occupants have a greater freedom level. Results indicate a higher level of physiological and psychological thermal adaptation for the occupants of the studios and PC labs compared to those in the lecture rooms. Consequently, the type of classroom and the students’ freedom levels should be considered in environmental design of higher education buildings.

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