Investigation of indoor thermal environment in the homes with elderly people during heating season in Beijing, China

Guangtao Fan, Jingchao Xie, Hiroshi Yoshino, U. Yanagi, Kenichi Hasegawa, Chunyu Wang, Xiaojing Zhang, Jiaping Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


This study intends to investigate indoor thermal environment in homes with elderly people during heating season in Beijing, China. The investigation was performed from December 2016 to February 2017, involving both urban and rural houses. Heating equipment, indoor clothing and thermal sensation of the elderly, and indoor physical parameters were analyzed through subjective surveys and objective measurements. Results show that different types of heating systems/devices are used in urban and rural houses. Overall, the heating duration of rural houses is longer than that of urban houses in winter. In terms of indoor air temperature, urban elderly people experienced warmer and steadier thermal environments than rural elderly people. During the investigation, the average air temperature in living rooms/elderly people's bedrooms of urban houses was 21.9 ± 2.2 °C/21.5 ± 2.8 °C, significantly higher than 16.1 ± 3.5 °C/14.6 ± 3.3 °C of rural houses. Additionally, rural elderly people usually encountered a large temperature step between indoors and outdoors, due to frequent exit and entry. Despite of relatively low air temperatures in rural houses, the elderly reported that the indoor thermal environment was acceptable, since the elderly in rural areas wear thicker clothes indoors in winter. This also indicated the acceptable temperature for elderly people in rural areas was lower than that for elderly people in urban areas. It is noted that the acceptable temperature may not satisfy long-term physical health requirements of the elderly. More studies are needed to determine reasonable temperature for both thermal comfort and health of the elderly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)288-303
Number of pages16
JournalBuilding and Environment
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Dec


  • Elderly people
  • Heating period
  • Homes
  • Thermal comfort
  • Thermal environment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Building and Construction


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