Classroom Temperatures

Prepared by Cassandra Semple and Max Schepisi edited by Blake Seufert

Heating and cooling is by far a schools largest expense. Classrooms are often overheated, and heaters and air-conditioners are left running around the clock. But what effect does all this heating and cooling have on student learning?

Numerous worldwide studies have been exploring which temperatures promote the best learning outcomes for students, and foster the teacher’s ability to teach in the most efficient manner. The following points are summaries of research experiments that have been conducted in the United States. These are not full report summaries, however they do outline important information in regards to student learning and temperature which could be implemented at McKinnon.

Based on classroom tests and surveys on school students in the US, the following information was deducted:

  • On average, the most ideal temperature range lies between 20-25 degrees Celsius (or 68-77 Fahrenheit).
  • Colder temperatures (20 degrees and below) increase student academic performance when compared to warmer conditions (25 degrees and above).
    • Essentially, if the ideal temperature range of 20-25 degrees cannot be met, slightly colder conditions show better academic result than warmer ones.
  • Students felt excessively tired, lethargic and were unable to concentrate for extended periods of time in these warmer conditions in the classroom.
  • Whilst students felt cold, their average test marks were higher than when in the warmer environment.

For ideal energy efficiency set your classroom air-conditioner to max 19 degrees in the winter and min 24 degrees in the summer.