: (Alternate format thesis)

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


Several challenges are experienced by hospitalised patients regarding thermal comfort such as, variety of medical conditions, low metabolic rates, light clothing and issues encountered from building design that do not consider the design of the indoor environment for such varied inpatient groups. This is especially acute in hotter climates. This thesis poses three research questions, which were formulated to develop more holistic requirements for inpatient thermal comfort:
Research Question 1. How suitable are thermal comfort approaches and global standards for hospitalised patients in air-conditioned environments?
Research Question 2. How applicable is a ‘one-size-fits-all’ cooling strategy when seeking to deliver comfortable indoor environment conditions across a variety of inpatient groups?
Research Question 3. How can patient thermal comfort requirements be incorporated into a design process cycle to compensate for the shortage of existing healthcare design tools?
The first question began with an evaluation of existing thermal comfort approaches and standards used in air-conditioned environments in hospitals. The findings showed that the thermal sensation votes (TSV) varied significantly from the predicted mean votes (PMV), indicating that the PMV was not an adequate metric for predicting patient thermal comfort in hospitals. Also, the estimation of the neutral temperature for all the patients acquired by the TSV failed. Alternatively, the neutral temperature estimated by the Griffith’s method was 22.8°C. The second question was answered by extending the monitoring strategy with a longitudinal methodology that applied a “one-size-fits-all” approach to their cooling systems. Internal temperature and humidity were monitored over four months. The substantial results showed that significant variations of indoor temperatures (peaks) were shown between different wards as follows: 20.1–21.8°C in cardiology, 22.2–23.9 °C in the surgical ward, a warmer 24.8–25.3 °C in the medical ward, and 25.3–26.8 °C in oncology. Patients tended to prefer warmer temperatures than the cooler conditions provided by the installed system and cooling systems while in reality not meeting inpatient thermal comfort demands. The final question answered by proposing a hospital environmental appraisal thermal-comfort (HEAT) evidence-based design tool to integrate design solutions for patient thermal comfort issues in a simplified interface that could be used by healthcare designers at the cycle process of design. HEAT has eight statements, each supported by several design recommendations for facilitating the final judgment.
Date of Award2 Dec 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorStephen Lo (Supervisor), Ricardo Codinhoto (Supervisor) & Sukumar Natarajan (Supervisor)

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