Thermal comfort assessment of primary school children in a warm and humid climate : a case study of Imo State, Nigeria

MUNONYE, CC ORCID: 2020, Thermal comfort assessment of primary school children in a warm and humid climate : a case study of Imo State, Nigeria , PhD thesis, University of Salford.

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Thermal comfort study in buildings gained unprecedented momentum in recent times because of the concern over climate change. The increasing temperature caused by climate change is likely impacting the comfort and the health of building occupants, especially in a primary school setting where young children engage in-class lessons for an extended period. This thesis presents the results of the perception of the thermal environment by primary school children (aged 7-12 years), and that of their teachers and the thermal performance of the classrooms they use for class lessons. Fieldwork that involved the collection of objective and subjective data were carried out in six naturally ventilated classroom buildings that have two different architectural features. The studied subjects in the survey area (Imo State) represented a variety of users in a similar climatic context in Nigeria. The fieldwork covered two seasons associated with the study area; the rainy season and the dry season, during which the subjects were repeatedly surveyed twice a day. Structured comfort questionnaires were adopted to collect approximately 7050 valid copies of responses from 330 schoolchildren and 44 of their teachers at the same time data loggers were collecting indoor and outdoor environmental parameters. The data from the fieldwork were stored in a spreadsheet of Microsoft Excel and analyzed using both descriptive and inferential statistical techniques. Results found that at the prevailing indoor air velocity, not all the surveyed classroom spaces met the specifications of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Standard 55-2017 comfort zone, adopting an 80% acceptability criterion as the primary consideration. Higher compliance was reported in the ‘open-space’ classrooms compared to the ‘enclosed-plan’ classrooms. The comfort temperature of the schoolchildren was found to be 28.8oC, at an observed mean indoor operative temperature of 29.1oC for the combined classrooms all season. Results also found that the schoolchildren were comfortable within the operative temperature range of 25.8oC-31.6oC for 80% ASHRAE acceptability limit with a greater majority of them voting comfortable at the temperature range between 26-28oC. The result of the comparison of the Predicted Mean Votes (PMV) and the Actual Mean Votes (AMV) found that the PMV overpredicted the students’ thermal sensation and underestimated the neutral temperature by 3.5K. The result further suggests that the schoolchildren in the warm and humid climate in Nigeria can tolerate high temperatures in naturally ventilated classrooms. Another important finding is that though the children generally preferred a cooler indoor environment, it was not all the time that they preferred a cooler environment. Furthermore, the comparison of the thermal perception of the schoolchildren with that of their teachers suggests that their teachers perceived the indoor classroom warmer than their students feel and are more sensitive to temperature changes than their students. The paper concludes that schoolchildren can accept high indoor temperatures and still become comfortable and may not need air-conditioning systems. This creates an opportunity for potential energy savings in primary schools in a warm and humid environment. The findings from this work are important information for researchers in the built environment, service engineers, and architects, and may help to discourage high energy use in Heating, Ventilation, and Air-conditioning (HVAC) systems in primary schools in the warm and humid climate in Nigeria. The study recommends extending future work to private schools and other schools in other climatic regions in Nigeria for comprehensive information about the comfort perception of primary schoolchildren

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Contributors: Ji, Y (Supervisor)
Schools: Schools > School of the Built Environment
Funders: Tertiary Education Trust Fund
Depositing User: Charles Munonye
Date Deposited: 17 Dec 2020 13:15
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 21:48

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