Evaluation of Thermal Discomfort and Non-refrigerant-based Cooling Methods as Mitigation Measures in Indian School Buildings

Nikhil Sharma

Alliance for an Energy efficient Economy, New Delhi, India
Corresponding Author: nikhil@aeee.in

Brijesh Pandey

Alliance for an Energy efficient Economy, New Delhi, India

Akhil Singhal

Alliance for an Energy efficient Economy, New Delhi, India

Cite this article

Sharma, N., Pandey, B., Singhal, A. (2024). Evaluation of Thermal Discomfort and Non-refrigerant-based Cooling Methods as Mitigation Measures in Indian School Buildings. In Proceedings of Energise 2023- Lifestyle, Energy Efficiency, and Climate Action, pp 182–189, Alliance for an Energy Efficient Economy. https://doi.org/10.62576/XWCT4594


  • Thermal comfort of students has been assessed.
  • Impact of evaporative coolers on improving thermal comfort has been investigated.
  • Recommendations have been provided to shift policy focus towards designing school buildings considering thermal comfort.


The atmospheric temperature of the Indian subcontinent is rising steadily, with maximum and minimum temperatures increasing by up to 0.9º C and 0.5º C, respectively. Heat waves are becoming more frequent, posing a threat to vulnerable communities, including students, leading to changes in school schedules or closures in northern India. Unfortunately, thermal comfort assessment in Indian schools has received limited attention to date. To address this, a study was conducted in Ajmer (Hot and Dry climate) to evaluate thermal discomfort caused by heat stress in schools. The study investigates the relationship between students’ thermal comfort and indoor/outdoor thermal conditions and the effectiveness of low-energy cooling technology, such as ceiling fans and evaporative coolers, in mitigating thermal discomfort during heat stress conditions. Data collection and evaluation have been conducted before and after the deployment of evaporative coolers to gauge their effectiveness in improving the thermal comfort of the students. A Simulation-based approach is adopted post-deployment of coolers to quantify the improvement in thermal comfort. The study aimed to provide insights into the benefit of adopting effective cooling technologies for improving the indoor classroom environment for students and enabling policymakers to assess indoor thermal conditions and choose suitable technologies to help mitigate heat stress in schools.

The results show that low-energy cooling technology, like evaporative air coolers, helps in bringing down the indoor temperature to a thermally comfortable range for the students. In addition, this study established that there is a need to focus on thermal comfort while developing the school infrastructure, as it helps in improving the students’ learning cognizance, attendance ratio and physical well-being. 


Thermal Comfort, Heat Stress, Low-Energy Cooling Techniques, Evaporative Air Coolers.


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