Internal thermal environment and futureproofing of a newly built, naturally ventilated UK school
Paper in proceedings, 2020

Research indicates that school children have lower comfort levels than adults and this exacerbates the challenge of tackling the risks of summer overheating in schools without resorting to air conditioning. UN SDG 13 calls for climate action to strengthen the resilience of our cities and reduce the impact of climate change. In this work, a modern, naturally ventilated school in Southampton, UK was used to evaluate single, "hard", passive retrofit measures and "soft", building management solutions that could increase the wellbeing of students and reduce current and future demand for cooling. The school was selected as it represents the current standardised design guidance for schools released in 2012 by the Department of Education (DfE). The research presents air temperature observations collected during the summer of 2015. Dynamic thermal modelling was undertaken to evaluate passive retrofit and "soft" solutions to reduce the overheating risk. The model was validated with temperature data collected from the school classrooms. The results indicate that (a) such school buildings have high likelihood of overheating, based on children's comfort temperatures and (b) passive retrofits focused on shading and ventilation could help to reduce the classroom temperature when required. It is recommended that "soft" adaptive solutions will prove effective to reduce future air conditioning demand, but this will require a radical change in established practices. Achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 will require to rethink and redesign urban living and city infrastructures.

Children's thermal comfort

Summer overheating

School buildings

Cooling demand

Passive retrofits


Jake Stephen

University of Southampton

Leonidas Bourikas

Lancaster University

Despoina Teli

Chalmers, Architecture and Civil Engineering, Building Services Engineering

Abubakr Bahaj

University of Southampton

Richard Congreve

Banister Primary School

IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science

17551307 (ISSN) 17551315 (eISSN)

Vol. 588 032071

Göteborg, Sweden,

Subject Categories

Architectural Engineering

Civil Engineering

Other Civil Engineering

Building Technologies

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Areas of Advance




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