Thermal Performance Evaluation of School Buildings using a Children-based Adaptive Comfort Model
Paper i proceeding, 2017

This paper investigates the thermal performance of four school buildings of different ages and characteristics, using current EU overheating criteria and ‘adjusted’ criteria based on children’s lower comfort temperature found in recent research. Data collected in Southampton, UK, between 2011-2015 are used in the analysis, which consists of two parts: a) the development of an adaptive comfort model associating children’s comfort temperature to outdoor climate based on approximately 2,800 thermal comfort responses from children, and b) the thermal performance evaluation of four case study schools (built in 1894, 1929, 1978 and 2013) with the use of 5-minute air temperature measurements during spring/summer from a total of 43 classrooms. The two models, current (adult-based) and adapted to pupils, are applied to the methodology for overheating assessment based on the European standard EN 15251. Results show that there is no overheating in the schools when the classroom temperatures were assessed with the current adult-based model, while when using the children-based model overheating was identified in three out of the four schools. Interestingly, the school with the most acceptable summer performance is the oldest, an 1890s medium-weight building. The modern (2013) school had the most stable, yet high air temperatures amongst the studied schools. The study highlights the emerging issue of summer overheating in heating-dominated countries such as the UK, where this has not been traditionally a concern. The problem is exacerbated by a single-sided focus on reducing heating loads without taking appropriate measures for summer comfort, the global warming trends and children’s sensitivity to high temperatures. This paper highlights the challenge of designing school buildings with acceptable year-round thermal and energy performance and the need to set higher standards in the school building design, using children-based criteria.

Climate responsive design

School buildings


Children’s thermal comfort

Adaptive comfort


Despoina Teli

Chalmers, Bygg- och miljöteknik, Installationsteknik

Leonidas Bourikas

Patrick James

Abubakr Bahaj

Procedia Environmental Sciences. International Conference on Sustainable Synergies from Buildings to the Urban Scale (SBE). Thessaloniki, GREECE, 16-19 OCT , 2016

1878-0296 (eISSN)

Vol. 38 844-851





Hållbar utveckling


Building Futures (2010-2018)




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