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Indoor Air. 2012 Apr;22(2):96-109. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0668.2011.00747.x. Epub 2011 Nov 1.

Thermal comfort and gender: a literature review.

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1
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Espoo, Finland. sami.karjalainen@vtt.fi

Abstract

This review examines scientific literature on the effect of gender on indoor thermal comfort. Gender differences have been generally considered to be small and insignificant but this review shows that a growing number of studies have found significant differences in thermal comfort between the genders. Clearly more than half of the laboratory and field studies have found that females express more dissatisfaction than males in the same thermal environments. Very few studies have found males to be more dissatisfied than females. A meta-analysis shows that females are more likely than males to express thermal dissatisfaction (ratio: 1.74, 95% confidence interval: 1.61-1.89). However, most studies found no significant difference in neutral temperatures between the genders. Females are more sensitive than males to a deviation from an optimal temperature and express more dissatisfaction, especially in cooler conditions.

PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS:

We should no longer neglect the more rigorous requirements that females have for indoor thermal environments. Gender differences indicate that females have, on average, a greater need for individual temperature control and adaptive actions than males. The results of this review suggest that females should primarily be used as subjects when examining indoor thermal comfort requirements, as if females are satisfied it is highly probable that males are also satisfied.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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