Differences between young adults and elderly in thermal comfort, productivity, and thermal physiology in response to a moderate temperature drift and a steady-state condition.

L. Schellen*, W.D. van Marken Lichtenbelt, M.G. Loomans, J. Toftum, M.H. de Wit

*Corresponding author for this work

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Results from naturally ventilated buildings show that allowing the indoor temperature to drift does not necessarily result in thermal discomfort and may allow for a reduction in energy use. However, for stationary conditions, several studies indicate that the thermal neutral temperature and optimum thermal condition differ between young adults and elderly. There is a lack of studies that describe the effect of aging on thermal comfort and productivity during a moderate temperature drift. In this study, the effect of a moderate temperature drift on physiological responses, thermal comfort, and productivity of eight young adults (age 22-25 year) and eight older subjects (age 67-73 year) was investigated. They were exposed to two different conditions: S1-a control condition; constant temperature of. 21.5 degrees C; duration: 8 h; and S2-a transient condition; temperature range: 17-25 degrees C, duration: 8 h, temperature drift: first 4 h: +2 K/h, last 4 h: -2 K/h. The results indicate that thermal sensation of the elderly was, in general, 0.5 scale units lower in comparison with their younger counterparts. Furthermore, the elderly showed more distal vasoconstriction during both conditions. Nevertheless. TS of the elderly was related to air temperature only, while TS of the younger adults also was related to skin temperature. During the constant temperature session, the elderly preferred a higher temperature in comparison with the young adults.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-283
JournalIndoor Air
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010

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