Do children feel warmer than adults? Overheating prevention in schools in the face of climate change.

Marije te Kulve*, Runa T. Hellwig, Froukje van Dijken, Atze Boerstra

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


Literature research indicates that thermal sensation of children might be different from common thermal comfort bands, with a tendency towards a warmer sensation than expected. In this chapter, possible reasons for these differences are explored. The activity level of children and their limited ability to apply adaptive behaviours are likely to play a role in the warmer sensation of children. Additionally, differences between sensation of adults and children might originate from a systematic error in measuring the operative temperature in schools and from the interpretation of subjective evaluation methods. To be able to include the observed differences in temperature guidelines for schools, the adaptability of children to temperature, but also the contribution of active cooling systems on climate change, should be considered. To overcome overheating in a healthy, energy- and cost-effective manner, the first approach should be to design schools such that the risk of overheating is minimized and adaptive opportunities are available: a resilient school design. This includes a design capable of preventing external heat gains, buffering indoor temperature induced by load peaks, allowing adaptive behaviour such as opening windows and the possibility to increase the air speed using fans and thereby allowing children to adapt to seasonal changes.

About the book (from publisher):
This book brings together some of the finest academics in the field to address important questions around the way in which people experience their physical environments, including temperature, light, air-quality, acoustics and so forth. It is of importance not only to the comfort people feel indoors, but also the success of any building as an environment for its stated purpose. The way in which comfort is produced and perceived has a profound effect on the energy use of a building and its resilience to the increasing dangers posed by extreme weather events, and power outages caused by climate change. Research on thermal comfort is particularly important not only for the health and well-being of occupants but because energy used for temperature control is responsible for a large part of the total energy budget of the built environment.

In recent years there has been an increasing focus on the vulnerabilities of the thermal comfort system; how and why are buildings failing to provide safe and agreeable thermal environments at an affordable price? Achieving comfort in buildings is a complex subject that involves physics, behaviour, physiology, energy conservation, climate change, and of course architecture and urban design. Bringing together the related disciplines in one volume lays strong, multi-disciplinary foundations for new research and design directions for resilient 21st century architecture. This book heralds workable solutions and emerging directions for key fields in building the resilience of households, organisations and populations in a heating world.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication Routledge Handbook of Resilient Thermal Comfort
EditorsFergus Nicol, Hom B. Rijal, Sue Roaf
Number of pages13
Publication date19 Apr 2022
ISBN (Print)ISBN 9781032155975
ISBN (Electronic)ISBN 9781003244929
Publication statusPublished - 19 Apr 2022
SeriesRoutledge International Handbooks


  • Thermal comfort
  • children
  • Overheating
  • school
  • adaptability
  • resilience
  • health
  • learning
  • clothing
  • behaviour
  • activity


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