EVALUATION OF SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENT’S OUTDOOR THERMAL COMFORT DURING PEAK URBAN HEATING HOURS IN GREATER KUALA LUMPUR

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Chng Saun Fong
Nasrin Aghamohammadi
Logaraj Ramakreshnan
Nik Meriam Sulaiman

Abstract

Background: There are rising concerns for the deterioration of outdoor thermal comfort (OTC) level as it influences the health and well-being of sensitive and vulnerable urban communities such as school children. However, the understanding of OTC among school children in an urban setting has been poorly highlighted in existing literature. 


Methods: A cross-sectional quantitative study was conducted among secondary school students in a selected area within Greater Kuala Lumpur (GKL) so as to understand their thermal perception towards the urban outdoor environment. A clustered random sampling was used to gather a total of 236 students for this study. Meteorological data were collected concurrently with the questionnaire survey which was conducted during the peak urban heating hours (0800 – 2000) from July 2018 to January 2019. 


Results: The secondary school students in the selected study area felt hot (n=120, 51%) and experienced little discomfort (n=144, 61%). If given a choice, 76% (n=179) of the students preferred a cooler environment although 56% (n=132) accepted the current thermal environment. Findings based on the on-site meteorological observations revealed that the students were constantly exposed to a mean of 32.7°C Physiological Equivalent Temperature (PET) while the expected neutral temperature was found to be 25.1°C PET. 


Conclusion: Based on these outcomes, it can be deduced that the students in this study showed traits of thermal acclimatization. Future studies should be conducted to identify the influence of other confounding factors, such as gender, ethnicity, and clothing variations among the secondary school students so as to ensure that the students are able to better adapt to the deteriorating OTC levels in urban outdoor spaces.

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Research article