Evaluating thermal response when elderly people using local cooling devices : Correlation among overall and local thermal sensation with skin temperature

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Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
A1 Alkuperäisartikkeli tieteellisessä aikakauslehdessä
Date
2024-03-01
Major/Subject
Mcode
Degree programme
Language
en
Pages
Series
Building and Environment, Volume 251
Abstract
The thermal comfort of elderly people in warm indoor environments is important because of their higher risk of heat stress. The use of local cooling devices may help alleviate heat stress. In this study, 26 elderly participants were recruited for climate chamber experiments in neutral (26 °C, 40 % relative humidity (RH)), slightly warm (29 °C, 40 % RH; 28 °C, 60 % RH), and warm (33 °C, 40 % RH; 32 °C, 50 % RH) environments. Three local cooling devices were tested: a table fan, evaporative cooling device, and air-cooled jacket. This study found, in different warm environments, the use of local cooling devices by the elderly results in an mean skin temperature decrease of no more than 0.5 °C. The thermal sensation in the head and torso has the most significant impact on overall thermal sensation. The mean skin temperature (MST) remains an effective physiological indicator for estimating overall thermal sensation after using local cooling devices. The skin temperature in the head, limbs, and extremities plays a substantial role in predicting overall thermal sensation. The thermosensory mean skin temperature (TMST) proposed based on the skin temperature of these parts can more accurately predict overall thermal sensation than MST. This study provides a reference for the development of future local cooling devices. This study has implications for guiding the selection of devices for nursing homes or residential environments for the elderly, and it can be utilized to formulate recommendations for improving device design.
Description
Funding Information: The Aalto University Research Ethics Committee authorized and supported this study (D/793/03.04/2021, approved on September 23, 2021). Participants included 26 healthy Finnish elderly people, 7 males and 19 females. Table 3 provides information on the participants, each of whom participated in the experiment once per week for 5 weeks. Because not every participant was able to participate each time, the number of test participants (N) in each condition varied. The experiment included five conditions: neutral (26 °C, 40 % RH, N = 26), slightly warm (29 °C, 40 % RH, N = 24; 28 °C, 60 % RH, N = 26), and warm (33 °C, 40 % RH, N = 20; 32 °C, 50 % RH, N = 23).This study is part of the following projects: HEATCLIM (Heat and health in the changing climate, Grant Numbers. 329306, 329307) funded by the Academy of Finland within the CLIHE (Climate change and health) program, and the author Minzhou Chen would like to thank financial support from the China Scholarship Council. Funding Information: This study is part of the following projects: HEATCLIM (Heat and health in the changing climate, Grant Numbers. 329306 , 329307 ) funded by the Academy of Finland within the CLIHE (Climate change and health) program, and the author Minzhou Chen would like to thank financial support from the China Scholarship Council . Publisher Copyright: © 2024 The Authors
Keywords
Core temperature, Elderly people, Local cooling, Skin temperature, Thermal sensation, Warm environment
Other note
Citation
Chen, M, Younes, J, Farahani, A V, Kilpeläinen, S, Kosonen, R, Ghaddar, N, Ghali, K & Melikov, A K 2024, ' Evaluating thermal response when elderly people using local cooling devices : Correlation among overall and local thermal sensation with skin temperature ', Building and Environment, vol. 251, 111217 . https://doi.org/10.1016/j.buildenv.2024.111217