Understanding the changing thermal comfort requirements and preferences of older Australians

  • YEAR
    Bills, Rachel
    Soebarto, Veronica
    2015 Conference Papers
    Conference Papers
    Thermal Comfort, Lighting and Acoustics


Australia is faced with the challenge of housing and caring for an increasingly ageing population. As the human body ages its sensitivity to changes in the thermal environment diminishes. This paper discusses a recent survey of older people living in Adelaide, South Australia, about the conditions of their living environment, their general health conditions and the ways in which they operate their houses. Selected dwellings are being monitored to record indoor temperatures and humidity while a long term thermal comfort survey of the occupants is being conducted. This paper will discuss preliminary results of this thermal comfort survey for the summer period. The results found that in general the selected occupants perceived their dwellings to be thermally acceptable; however there are some potentially hazardous trends around the use (or not) of heating and cooling. Overall, the thermal comfort surveys in conjunction with the temperature and humidity data indicate a preference among older people for cooler temperatures than typically considered comfortable by the healthy adult population. Balancing these preferences for both temperature and mechanical heating and cooling usage is vital for creating an environment for health and comfort in later life.


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