Xiong, J., Ma, T., Lian, Z., de Dear, R. (2019) Perceptual and physiological responses of elderly subjects to moderate temperatures, Building and Environment,

Xiong, J., Ma, T., Lian, Z., de Dear, R , Building and Environment ,156 ( 2019), 117-122.

Aging populations pose significant social challenges for many countries including China. The elderly spends most of their time inside built environments, so a better understanding of their thermal comfort indoors is important. This study investigated the perceptual and physiological responses of elderly subjects to different operative temperatures (21 °C, 25 °C, 28 °C and 31 °C). Their indoor thermal requirements were investigated, and results compared with those of young people. Sixteen healthy subjects aged 70+, including both males and females, participated in this experiment. In addition to thermal comfort perceptions, two physiological parameters, including skin temperature (local and mean) and electrocardiograph (ECG) were also monitored. Results showed that skin temperature and the ratio of LFnorm to HFnorm of ECG were sensitive to the ambient temperature. For comparative purposes, we refer to the previously published climate chamber experimental results of young college-age subjects also in Shanghai [1]. Neutral operative temperature (26 °C for a mean thermal sensation of “neutral”) and neutral skin temperature (32.2 °C for a mean thermal sensation of “neutral”) of the elderly sample in the present study was not different from that of young people. However, the elderly subjects were not as sensitive as the young college-age counterparts when it came to changes in operative temperature.

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