Thermal comfort in naturally ventilated primary school classrooms
Journal article, 2013

An investigation is presented of children-s thermal sensation trends and their perception of overall comfort and tiredness in school classrooms. Findings are reported from a field survey in a naturally ventilated primary school in Southampton, UK, which included thermal comfort surveys and simultaneous measurements of indoor environmental variables. Approximately 230 pupils aged 7-11 years were surveyed from April to July 2011. During this period of the summer term, there was no heating in the school. The results are compared with findings from other studies in schools and from studies with adults in offices. The results reveal a tendency of pupils towards warm thermal sensations which paradoxically is not complemented by an equally strong preference for cooler environments. There was no difference in the thermal sensation responses in terms of gender, but boys generally preferred cooler environments at high temperatures than girls. Overall, the results indicate that children in a classroom have a different thermal perception compared with adults, suggesting that current adult-based comfort standards may not apply to school children. The study shows that adjustments may be required to current comfort criteria in order to address the thermal perception of children. More child-centred research is needed to address pupils- thermal requirements under current and future climates. © 2013 Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.


thermal comfort

school buildings

thermal perception

indoor temperature

primary schools


P.A.B. James

M.F. Jentsch

Building Research and Information

0961-3218 (ISSN) 1466-4321 (eISSN)

Vol. 41 3 301-316

Subject Categories

Architectural Engineering

Building Technologies



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