The right to comfort: A field study on adaptive thermal comfort in free-running primary schools in Chile
Abstract This paper presents the results of a field study on thermal comfort in school buildings in Chile, the aim of which was to determine the comfort temperature of primary school children. Results are given for twelve schools that are located in Santiago, a city with relatively low temperatures in winter and high temperatures in summer, and that are typically free-running, as they have neither a heating nor a cooling system. The methodology included measurements of thermal parameters complemented with questionnaires based on the adaptive comfort model and modified to be understood by 9–10 year-old students. The fieldwork was organised into two phases: winter (July–August) and spring (November–December), and in each phase students answered the questionnaire up to three times per day over a period of three to four days. The results show that indoor temperatures in the classrooms are extremely low during occupancy hours in winter and quite high in spring, but the students' thermal sensation votes show that they tend to adapt quite dramatically to this wide variation. Comfort temperature is significantly lower than that calculated from the adaptive comfort model as established for adults, with temperatures as low as 14.7 °C - 15.6 °C in winter and 22.5 °C – 23.1 °C in spring. Additionally, students from highly vulnerable schools voted for a lower comfort temperature in winter than those from less vulnerable realities, thereby implying that there is a strong relation between comfort temperature and the socio-economic background of school children in this context. Highlights This paper studies the adaptive thermal comfort of children in free-running schools. Results from fieldwork showed extremely low and high indoor temperatures. Students' thermal sensation votes show remarkable adaptation capacity. The comfort temperature of children is lower than that derived from standards. There is a correlation between comfort temperature and socio-economic background.
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