Field study on thermal comfort in nursing homes in heated environments
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Considering the progressive population aging, the fact that old people spend around 90% of their time indoors and the high energy expenditure of heating systems, thermal comfort in nursing homes should be analysed. The aim of this study is to analyse the thermal comfort during the winter of elderly people living in nursing homes (residents) and compare it with the thermal comfort of caregivers and therapists (non-residents). Longitudinal field measurements were conducted in 25 common rooms of five nursing homes in a Mediterranean climate during the winter, from January to March 2019. Room air temperature (Ta), relative humidity (HR%), mean radiant temperature (Tr) and air velocity (va) were recorded using a Delta Ohm HD32.1 instrument with an anemometer, thermometer and a black globe thermometer. “Right-here-right-now” thermal responses of occupants were collected using a face-to-face questionnaire delivered intermittently. A total of 881 questionnaires were collected and then matched against concurrent indoor and outdoor thermal conditions. The results indicate that residents of nursing homes in the Mediterranean climate were less sensitive to variations in room temperature than therapists and caregivers, and less sensitive than found in previous studies conducted in non-elderly adults. The neutral temperature for residents was 21.6 °C while for caregivers and therapists it was 21.9 °C. The results also showed that clothing adaptation to the activity of caregivers would increase their thermal comfort and might help thermal adaptation to residents’ thermal needs. The modification of temperature setpoints in nursing homes based on the results of this study could influence energy use and should be carefully considered by policy makers and nursing homes’ facility managers.
CitationForcada, N. [et al.]. Field study on thermal comfort in nursing homes in heated environments. "Energy and buildings", Agost 2021, vol. 244, p. 111032/1-111032/12.
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