Upgrading insulation can help modular classrooms achieve optimum thermal comfort

11 October 2021 Kingspan Insulation Australia
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Ensuring a high level of thermal comfort within schools is essential to the education of today’s students.
Modular school buildings are considered as special use buildings and are required to achieve higher energy performance and provide consistent comfort for all occupants. The National Construction Code (NCC) considers and measures thermal comfort under the Predicated Mean Vote (PMV) model. As insulation plays a crucial role when it comes to thermal comfort, it is essential to select the right material.

A new study carried out by the University of Newcastle Australia in conjunction with Kingspan Insulation investigated how thermal comfort impacts student learning and how using mechanical air-conditioning to achieve the optimum level of thermal comfort can affect global warming.

The study identified that in an educational setting, students productivity and learning can be meaningfully impacted by thermal comfort. Furthermore, using air-conditioning to assist with students learning not only provides poor quality air but also negatively impacts the environment.

The research also recognised that the optimum thermal comfort levels for students and adults differ, yet the thermal comfort standards for classrooms in Australia is based upon the standards of adults in America and Europe.
 
The findings show that upgrading existing modular classrooms helps improve thermal comfort conditions and provide a positive learning environment for students and reduce the impact on the environment due to a reduction in air-conditioning usage. The thermal comfort in modular classrooms can updated "using passive measures such as insulation, sunscreens, ventilation and appropriately designed landscaping", (Vaughan et al., 2021).
 

To achieve this optimum thermal comfort for modular classrooms, research has been carried out that identified “changing the materials, upgrading the insulation or changing the orientation and shading can improve the thermal comfort in those classrooms”, Dr Josephine Vaughan, Lecturer School of Architecture and Built Environment, University of Newcastle.
Using passives measures such as insulation to upgrade existing or when manufacturing new modular classrooms helps to achieve optimum thermal comfort. These improved conditions will provide students with a positive learning environment, decrease the usage of air-conditioning and reduce the impact on the natural environment.
 
To learn more about thermal comfort in modular classrooms get in touch with our Technical Services team on 1300 247 235 or email technical@kingspaninsulation.com.au.
 

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