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Embodied thermal environments: an examination of older-people's sensory experiences in a variety of residential types

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>09/2015
<mark>Journal</mark>Energy Policy
Volume84
Number of pages8
Pages (from-to)233-240
StatePublished
Early online date23/12/14
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Thermal sensations of space, namely temperature, humidity and the movement of air, can be difficult to separate from other sensory information such as the sound of fans or ventilation equipment, or the smell of damp or cool fresh air. Despite this factor, efforts to reduce the consumption of energy through the installation of low-carbon technologies including sealed whole-building systems frequently isolate the thermal environment and fail to recognise and respond to the influence of other sensory information on personal preferences and behaviours. Older people represent an increasing proportion of the UK's population, can be faced with a range of physiological challenges associated with ageing, and sometimes have long-established personal preferences. Drawing from data collected across the Conditioning Demand Project, this paper explores the embodied nature of older people's experiences of low-carbon and more traditional thermal technologies in private residences, extra-care housing and residential carehomes, focussing specifically upon auditory and olfactory stimulus. Exploring the management of the sensory experience across these settings, we analyse each case to inform the development of new design and policy approaches to tackling housing for older people. In doing so, we further build connections between energy research and debates around sensory urbanism