UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering


Educational buildings' design and female students' cognitive performance


Temperatures and indoor air quality within buildings play a crucial role in energy consumption and occupant performance and particularly cognitive performance since it affects all mental activities such as thinking, reasoning, and remembering. By focusing on students’ learning outcomes as an endpoint and how various implications for cognitive performance are attributed to poor educational buildings' design, this study is aiming to forge new ground in understanding the impact of thermal comfort, indoors' ambient temperature and CO2 concentration levels as an indicator for ventilation rates on students' cognitive performance in educational buildings.

Saudi Arabia has been chosen as a case study, with reference to hot arid climates where scare data is available. After collecting information about the existing temperatures and ventilation rates in Saudi’s classrooms, it was found that the common temperature setting lies between 18-20°C accompanied with high ventilation rates; exceeding 15L/s-person. Accordingly, these conditions have been investigated as the baseline of the study.

The results of the study will be presented in this document; in which both quantitative and qualitative methods were employed. It is worth mentioning that the main scope of the experiment design has been based on repeating the cognitive tests under three different temperatures (20°C as the baseline condition to be compared to 23°C and 25°C) while the ventilation rate was kept constant in each of the three conditions.

Outcomes of this research will reflect how much learning outcomes could realistically be enhanced every year as a result of better educational buildings' design. Results will be disseminated to educational buildings' stakeholders, decision makers and architects. The study will contribute to the development of creating buildings conducive to learning as well as enhancing Thermal Comfort and IAQ guide lines for educational buildings' design.