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      THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN COMFORT PERCEPTIONS AND ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE IN UNIVERSITY CLASSROOM BUILDINGS

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          Abstract

          This paper presents preliminary data on a series of building comfort experiments conducted in the field. We performed physical in-situ measurements and solicited responses from 409 (184 female; 225 male) university students in six different classrooms at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst during three seasons (fall, winter and spring). Our questions focused on student perception of comfort in varied environmental (temperature and humidity, and air speed) conditions. We collected records of student academic performance in the classes, correlating their comfort perceptions to their test scores. Statistical analysis of classroom environmental variables, thermal satisfaction, and student scores suggest that by enhancing thermal comfort, we can improve academic performance.

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          Most cited references 23

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          Adaptive thermal comfort and sustainable thermal standards for buildings

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            Literature survey on how different factors influence human comfort in indoor environments

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              Associations between classroom CO2 concentrations and student attendance in Washington and Idaho.

              Student attendance in American public schools is a critical factor in securing limited operational funding. Student and teacher attendance influence academic performance. Limited data exist on indoor air and environmental quality (IEQ) in schools, and how IEQ affects attendance, health, or performance. This study explored the association of student absence with measures of indoor minus outdoor carbon dioxide concentration (dCO(2)). Absence and dCO(2) data were collected from 409 traditional and 25 portable classrooms from 22 schools located in six school districts in the states of Washington and Idaho. Study classrooms had individual heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, except two classrooms without mechanical ventilation. Classroom attributes, student attendance and school-level ethnicity, gender, and socioeconomic status (SES) were included in multivariate modeling. Forty-five percent of classrooms studied had short-term indoor CO(2) concentrations above 1000 p.p.m. A 1000 p.p.m. increase in dCO(2) was associated (P < 0.05) with a 0.5-0.9% decrease in annual average daily attendance (ADA), corresponding to a relative 10-20% increase in student absence. Annual ADA was 2% higher (P < 0.0001) in traditional than in portable classrooms. This study provides motivation for larger school studies to investigate associations of student attendance, and occupant health and student performance, with longer term indoor minus outdoor CO(2) concentrations and more accurately measured ventilation rates. If our findings are confirmed, improving classroom ventilation should be considered a practical means of reducing student absence. Adequate or enhanced ventilation may be achieved, for example, with educational training programs for teachers and facilities staff on ventilation system operation and maintenance. Also, technological interventions such as improved automated control systems could provide continuous ventilation during occupied times, regardless of occupant thermal comfort demands.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                jgrb
                Journal of Green Building
                College Publishing
                1552-6100
                1943-4618
                1943-4618
                Winter 2016
                : 11
                : 1
                : 108-117
                Author notes

                1. Dept. of Environmental Conservation, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, simih@ 123456eco.umass.edu .

                2. Dept. of Environmental Conservation, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, bweil@ 123456eco.umass.edu .

                Article
                jgb.11.1.108
                10.3992/jgb.11.1.108.1
                ©2016 by College Publishing. All rights reserved.
                Page count
                Pages: 10
                Product
                Categories
                RESEARCH

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