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Investigation on perceived environmental quality in existing high school buildings : focus on thermal comfort measurements and survey

Alessandra Raco

Investigation on perceived environmental quality in existing high school buildings : focus on thermal comfort measurements and survey.

Rel. Marco Filippi, Daniela Raimondo. Politecnico di Torino, Corso di laurea magistrale in Architettura Costruzione Città, 2015


The Green School Project: School as an incubator for a real culture of sustainability

The research project "Green School" is a collaboration between the Polytechnic University of Turin and the Province of Turin. It has the aim of developing methods and tools to facilitate the transformation of the existing school buildings in green schools, or buildings that offer healthy and comfortable environments for students and teachers, which reduce the consumption of water and energy resources in the operating phase and witch are managed and maintained according to criteria of environmental, economic and social sustainability.

The research project, based on the concept of promoting the transformation of the existing buildings through sustainability criteria, is grafted onto the national and international scene that concerns school facilities for the following aspects:

- New conception of school buildings:

Within a panorama of renewal of pedagogical and formative models, the school building is now at the center of deep reflections; the Ministry of Education's issuance, dating April 2013, reporting the Guidelines for schools construction, constitutes a testimony legislation. This approach differs from the prescriptive nature of previous Technical Standards, dating back to 1975, through the enumeration of a set of performance criteria for the design of schools "of the new millennium."

Reading the indications provided, the theme of energy and environmental sustainability strongly emerges and is explained in requests such as:

indoor environmental quality through the design of thermal, lighting and acoustic comfort, indoor air quality, ergonomics of the furniture;

optimization of energy consumption for several uses, energy production from renewable sources, domotic regulation and control of technologic systems, consumptions monitoring.

- Correlation between school environment and students' potentiality of education:

Within the scientific landscape, several studies and research have shown the Importance of a quality educational environment (extending the concept of quality to more aspects and activities) in order to maximize students' learning potential and success. Referring to this, it is important to point out two aspects:

the physical quality of internal spaces affects users' psycho-physical state by increasing their interest to stay inside the school, encouraging their productivity and motivation;

the school is now conceived as a teaching tool, looking at the building itself as an educational tool: it therefore recognizes the educational value - for the creation of students' environmental awareness -of good practices, such as the sustainable and aware management of resources.

- Approach of the European Community for the redevelopment of existing buildings:

European Directives, relating to energy efficiency and sustainability in construction field, have defined a clear and binding roadmap for all Member States. In order to achieve the goals of reducing CO2 emissions and primary energy demand of 20% by 2020 (Climate-Energy Package 20-20-20), the recent Directive 27/2012/EU imposes to Member States to adopt more stringent measures. Particularly, we emphasize the following points of interest on existing buildings:

Renovation of buildings (Article 4) -> Member States shall establish a long-term strategy in order to get financing for the renovation of national residential and commercial buildings, both public and private [...] A first version of the strategy is published by 30 April 2014.

Exemplary role of public buildings (art. 5)-" [..], Member States shall ensure that from 1 January 2014, 3% of the total useful floor area of buildings (heated and/or cooled), property of their central government and from it occupied, is redeveloped each year to meet at least the minimum energy performance requirements set from Article 4 of Directive 2010/31/EU.

- Programs for the diffusion of environmental, social and economic sustainability in schools:

The word "sustainability" is now affecting many sectors and many aspects of our daily lives. There's a strong need of developing processes, products and sustainable development programs to ensure welfare of future generations. Children education is identified as the principal concept for the spread of awareness and knowledge about this subject. For these reasons, international programs for the promotion and dissemination of educational activities on sustainability have been activated within schools. We mention as examples: the International Eco-school program, sponsored by the Foundation for Environmental Education-FEE-for the certification of schools that wish to promote sustainability through environmental education and ecological management of the school; programs sponsored by the Center for Green Schools (http://www.centerforareenschools.ora/our storv.aspx) born in the US to lead the transformation of the existing school buildings and new construction in sustainable and healthy areas.

Purposes of the Green School project

Purposes expressed above are going to be applied to the adaptation of existing school buildings: we need to define appropriate strategies in a holistic and integrated approach. Considering the narrowness of the available economic resources, it is essential to define a methodology as a twofold operational tool: functional both for mapping the heritage of existing school and for the quality improvement of buildings. Specifically, we intend to pursue the following objectives:

defining a procedure for the identification of critical issues in existing buildings by establishing a model of green audit. This audit will be useful to analyze the aspects concerning the building sustainability (the location, the relationship with the context, the energy performance, the quality of internal sustainability, the building management and security of school services for users, etc..);

identify non-structural actions (good management practices) and structural actions (interventions on the building-system) possible aimed at increasing energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality and, overall, sustainability of the entire building;

set priorities of our actions, evaluating the economic impact of adaptation/redevelopment works on the building system;

promote the diffusion of sustainable management practice that follow guidelines of the European Community and Italian legislation concerning the theme of Green Public Procurement in the supplies of gods and services.

Structure of the green audit methodology

Following the objectives expressed above and starting from the very definition of green school, the green audit methodology is structured in different areas of investigation.


Analysis of the energy performance of the building through an audit procedure, aimed at the analysis of

energy flows for a rationalization of energy use in its various issues;


Objective analysis of health and comfort conditions in schools to facilitate teaching and learning activities in terms of thermal, acoustic, visual comfort and indoor air quality; it is followed by a subjective analysis, about environmental quality perceived by teachers and students;


Analysis of safety conditions for users during the fruition of indoor and outdoor spaces;


Analysis of the building spatial quality in terms of adaptability, flexibility, accessibility, reversibility and efficient use of the spaces;


Analysis of management activities and use of the building system in terms of: management of the external areas and garbage, scheduled maintenance, policy of purchasing supplies, monitoring and verification of$ water consumption, electrical and thermal consumption, methods of cleaning and products used for cleaning, policy of purchasing the furniture;


Integration of issues related to sustainability, in the curricular plans and extracurricular activities.

Relators: Marco Filippi, Daniela Raimondo
Publication type: Printed
Subjects: A Architettura > AL Buildings and equipment for education, scientific research, information
A Architettura > AO Design
S Scienze e Scienze Applicate > SH Fisica tecnica
Corso di laurea: Corso di laurea magistrale in Architettura Costruzione Città
Classe di laurea: UNSPECIFIED
Aziende collaboratrici: UNSPECIFIED
URI: http://webthesis.biblio.polito.it/id/eprint/4444


The Green School Project: School as an incubator for a real culture of sustainability

Positioning of the thesis in the Green School Project

1 The theme of retrofit in existing school buildings

Actions planned for the improvement of the housing stock

The state of school buildings in Piedmont

The state of high buildings in the Turin metropolitan area (ex province of Turin)

2 Environmental quality in the context of the existing school buildings

Effect of IEQ on occupant's health and wellbeing

Indoor Environmental Quality in regulation

3 Examples of evaluation and implementation of the environmental quality of the existing school buildings

Examples of retrofits in existing school buildings

The Green School Project

I.T.I.S. James Clerk Maxwell

I.T.I.S. Amedeo Avogadro

4 Investigation on objective quality post-occupation on the thermohygrometric comfort


Field measurement

Thermal comfort and indoor air quality survey analysis


Field measurements results in Maxwell Institute

Field measurement results in Avogadro Institute

Questionnaires results in Maxwell and Avogadro institute



5 Survey on perceived quality

Long term questionnaires submitted to students




6 Possible construction, plant and management interventions

7 Comments on adopted methodology and possible developments


Possible developments


Annex 1 : Literature and legislation review on Indoor Environmental Comfort with a focus on thermal comfort

Annex 2: Student's long term complete questionnaires

Annex 3: Detailed data collected by questionnaires concerning factors affecting learning abilities in Maxwell institute

Annex 4: Detailed data collected by questionnaires concerning factors affecting learning abilities in Avogadro institute

Annex 5: Detailed data collected by questionnaires concerning noises affecting learning abilities in Maxwell institute

Annex 6: Detailed data collected by questionnaires concerning noises affecting learning abilities in Avogadro institute

Annex 7: Detailed data collected by questionnaires concerning the consequences of low acoustic quality in Maxwell institute

Annex 8: Detailed data collected by questionnaires concerning the consequences of low acoustic quality in Avogadro institute

Annex 9: Data on the behavior of users acting on the thermohygrometric indoor conditions collected by questionnaire in Maxwell institute

Annex 10: Data on the behavior of users acting on the thermohygrometric indoor conditions collected by questionnaire in Avogadro institute




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