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Thermal Comfort in School Buildings in the Tropics

Kerrie Prescott

In the mid 1990's the 'need' to mechanically air condition school buildings became a political issue in North Queensland. Research suggests that school children are susceptible to heat stress, acclimatisation or cultural
factors aside. Cooling strategies are also desirable to protect capital investment in building fabric, resources and electronic equipment. Current community expectations suggest that air conditioning in the tropics is a
'necessity' to maintain an acceptable standard of comfort.

Investigative post-occupancy evaluations (POE) of a number of schools in the Townsville and Mt Isa region revealed:

School designers need to recognise that it is not a teacher's role (or interest) to manage the thermal environment of a classroom. School buildings should be designed to ensure that human comfort conditions are easily and efficiently maintained through the variety of passive and active means available. Air conditioning is but one tool available to achieve thermal comfort.

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Copyright | Disclaimer | ISSN: 1442-5017