Subjective and objective assessment of thermal comfort in physiotherapy centers
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Physiotherapy centers represent a special environment since different activities are performed by the occupants, i.e., therapists and patients, who might have very different ages, metabolic rates, health status and clothing, as well as perform various types of treatment. In this framework, this study aims to provide an original contribution to the literature with new experimental data of objective and subjective assessment of thermal comfort conditions in these facilities. Thermal comfort in four physiotherapy centers in Northern Italy and Denmark was analyzed during the heating season according to the PMV-PPD model and to a subjective approach, performing long- and short-term measurements of ambient parameters and submitting questionnaires to both therapists and patients, before and after therapies. Patients preferred temperature ranges of 22.5 – 24.5 °C and 20 – 22.5 °C, respectively during static and dynamic treatments, while therapists seemed to better adapt to the environment by adjusting their clothing level. Therapists and patients differed only in thermal satisfaction and only in some of the centers. Gender, age, health and clothing were found significant parameters. After therapy, patients’ answers showed variations only for thermal satisfaction in some centers where static therapies are performed, and for thermal sensation in cases of dynamic therapies. Thermal perception was generally closer to neutrality than predicted with the PMV-PPD model. As a whole, if integrated with other similar works, these results can be exploited to support the development of a database for creating guidelines to address the requirements of the two categories of occupants.
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