Thermal adaptation of the elderly during summer in a hot humid area: Psychological, behavioral, and physiological responses

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • Yuxin Wu
  • Hong Liu
  • Baizhan Li
  • Risto Kosonen

  • Deyu Kong
  • Shan Zhou
  • Runming Yao

Research units

  • Chongqing University
  • Nanjing Tech University
  • University of Reading


Elderly demand for thermal comfort and energy conservation in senior citizen centers is increasing in an aging society. To reveal the thermal responses of the elderly in a warm summer environment, a field study involving experimental measurements was conducted in Chongqing, China. The study included 333 subjects in 17 residential buildings and 119 subjects in 6 elderly nursing homes; it showed that elderly persons as passive users of air conditioners preferred cooling by natural ventilation. The mean thermal sensation vote was lower than estimates obtained from the PMV model in warm environments. The physiological responses of eight elderly subjects (65 ± 3) were measured in a climate chamber at 18°C and 34°C and compared with those from eight college students (22 ± 1) and eight middle-aged subjects (50 ± 5). In this chamber, oral temperature, blood pressure, and heart rate of elderly and middle-aged persons were determined to be almost constant as the air temperature was changed to a hot/cold environment for 30 min, a different result from that of the young subjects. However, the skin temperature for all age groups showed variation with air temperature, suggesting skin temperature as an optimal monitoring parameter for the entire population.


Original languageEnglish
Article number109450
JournalEnergy and Buildings
Early online date23 Sep 2019
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Research areas

  • Thermal adaptation, Elderly, Natural ventilation, Skin temperature, Hot climate

ID: 37327687